For a man, there are very few compliments that hold higher merit than being called a man of integrity. A good definition of integrity is, “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” As a counselor, I work with many men who strive to be men of integrity but often do not know how to live their lives in a way that represents this attribute.
It can be difficult to be a man who is always honest and also lives by a set of strict principles and values. Many people will end up creating their own set of values and principles that fit their comfort level and conscience. Also, truthfulness can often be in the eye of the beholder. What is even harder is being a Christian man of integrity. A man who dedicates himself to following God’s law, morals, and values is no longer living for self, but instead, living for God. God will honor a man who lives with integrity. Psalm 41:12 says, “Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.”
One reason many men struggle to have integrity is because of fears of what it could cost them if they were to live a life of integrity at all times. Many men that I work with in my counseling practice have done things that they regret but are very fearful to tell their wives due to fear of what she might think or do. They live double lives because they feel it is easier to avoid the truth in order to avoid conflict. By emphasizing the importance of integrity, I am often able to help men find the courage to:
- Be more vulnerable with other people. A man of integrity will not fear being vulnerable because they recognize the value in being open and honest. They recognize the importance in not blaming others for their own behaviors.
- Live with some discomfort. This can be costly because it could mean owning up to your mistakes or needing to confront someone. Living with integrity is in no way taking the easy road but instead taking the road less traveled.
- Learn to make repairs, make amends, and atone for mistakes. Simply put, a real man will apologize for what he does and seek out those he needs to admit something to. He will not wait until he gets caught doing something in order to admit to it and change it.
- Learn to be more receptive to others. Men of integrity are seeking to find role models and be role models where they can. As it says in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
There are several ways to help men know if they are living a life of integrity.
- The life they are living is costing them something in the eyes of the world, but they are gaining something in the eyes of God. They seek God’s will, not their own. Example: A man turns down a high paying job because it will take him away from his family too much.
- They are doing something that they know is very difficult for them. Example: A person quits their job because of a dishonest workplace environment.
- They are doing something new and this puts them outside of their traditional comfort zone. Example: A man dedicates to praying in front of his family and leading devotional time.
- Your new way of behaving leaves you feeling vulnerable. Example: A man acts proactively and admits to his wife that the reason their sex life has been suffering is because he has been watching pornography without her knowing.
Jesus spoke about integrity in Luke 6:45, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” There are many men who model integrity as we look in the Bible. The story of Daniel is a story about integrity. Daniel possessed the two attributes of honesty and strong moral principles, which focused on serving God even though he upset others. All men need to challenge themselves to be a man like Daniel, a man of integrity.
Michael Linn is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and a Nationally Certified Counselor. He is the owner of Resolute Counseling, located in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He can be reached by calling 717-264-0450 or visiting www.resolutecounseling.com