Trust lived out reveals a leader with integrity. The word integrity comes from the Latin root in meaning “not” and teg “to touch.” Integrity is a value of something untouched, without blemish. Do these words remind you of Jesus? He was without sin or blemish, and He was pure in motive, which is the reason we can trust Him. Trust and integrity are partners.

Daily activities will test a leader’s integrity. How committed are you to your beliefs to take a stand when issues arise? Are you a leader who is willing to “stand on the point…alone” in contrast to the group? Or will you wait to see which way the political winds will blow? These questions are difficult to answer unless you know who you are in Christ. It is easy to lose your identity if you are seeking people’s approval, addicted to applause, or acceptable appearances become your barometer for decision making. Self-worth will disappear.

These questions appear to be very black and white, and at times they are. Only you know the motive of your heart in the context of decision-making and handling leadership situations. You will need to use sound judgment and choose your battles. And sometimes different cultures have distinctive norms that can be at odds with what you know.

I experienced an integrity test many years ago in a workplace environment. Our company was purchased as part of a merger, and the new owner told me outright that he wanted his relatives to take over managerial positions in the company. All of our managers were performing well above their requirements, and I told him if I had an opening or if one of the managers decided to leave, I’d consider hiring his relatives. A month later, my immediate boss contacted me to ask when current managers would be leaving. I held my ground. Then the profit and loss statements were called into question, as he tried to find grounds to make me leave. But I had met my budget and everything had been done well. He finally called me and told me I’d run out of time; just do it. I told him I wouldn’t fire them under these circumstances, and I lost my job. While it was difficult for the next several months in just about every way, God allowed me to grow and mature during that process and rewarded my faithfulness.

In the church world, we must be on our guard to maintain integrity as well. It’s not just in large scale decisions that we can squander integrity, but also on a small scale where poor decisions chip away at its foundation. I once consulted with a church where a staff member would agree on issues with the rest of the pastoral team…until they reached staff meeting where the Senior Pastor was in attendance. When a vote was called, he’d wait till the Senior Pastor voted, and then vote likewise even if it went against what he had expressed to the rest of the staff. His addiction to pleasing the Pastor built mistrust in his relationships with other staff.

Whether it’s in returning phone calls within a reasonable amount of time, giving credit where credit is due, or being the same person at church and at home – integrity matters.

Titus gives leaders good instruction: And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8 NLT).

I pray you will succumb only to the approval and applause of Jesus!