According to the dictionary function of Google (which I didn’t even know existed until I searched for this word) integrity means “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” This is exactly what Job has, and does not want to lose. Look at these verses:
As God lives, who rejected my legal claim, the Almighty, who made me bitter, as long as breath is in me and God’s breath is in my nostrils—my lips will utter no wickedness; my tongue will mumble no deceit. I will not agree that you are right. Until my dying day, I won’t give up my integrity.
Job speaks this in response to his friends’ arguments that he must be a sinner because of the suffering he has endured. He will not bring himself to agree that he did something wrong because he knows he did not sin. No matter how the entire world may view his situation, and even if everyone under the sun thinks opposite of Job, he will never give up his integrity and agree with them because he knows the truth–and he will do this because he honors the very God who seems to be punishing him! He still will not sin against God in agreeing with something that he knows is a lie.
The very same Google definition also had an interesting feature. It shows how popular the word is that was defined. There is a chart at the end of the definition that shows how often the word was used dating back to 1800 through today. (Integrity Usage)
According to the chart, the use of integrity dropped off significantly during the 20th century. The upswing in the latter decades most likely has more to do with the concept of the wholeness of a country or institution (the integrity of a sovereign country or financial integrity) or integrity as a computer term (the integrity of a file or data). Integrity is just not as popular a concept as it once was when speaking of moral character.
Much of this is due to our culture’s understanding that there are very few, if any, moral absolutes. We have perfected the idea that ethics and morals are situational, and if I am not hurt by someone else having a completely different understanding of something, I cannot object to their position.
Christianity, unfortunately, has succumbed to this situational morality in the West. There are many individual Christians, congregations, and denominations that no longer believe that there is an objective moral truth. This thinking goes under the guise of being faithful to God by proclaiming that love is the basis of all we do. The problem with this idea is that the life of Jesus was not one that permitted anything to go in people’s lives under the umbrella that “God loves you.” Jesus was actually quite pointed in his criticisms and judgments on sin.
The “all we need is love” crowd will quickly point out that Jesus’ harshest words were for the religious establishment and their self-righteous judgmentalism. This is true. And it is true because the flagrant sinners were coming to Jesus for healing and forgiveness. They were repenting of their sins! Jesus even tells them to sin no more. It is the ones who refused to repent, who thought their lives were acceptable to God just as they were–refusing to acknowledge the sin in their lives–that received the harshest words from Jesus.
Would that the entire Church had integrity once again! Would that we would hold fast to the objective moral truth of God no matter what the prevailing currents in society are! Would that we could be like Job and refuse to agree, even if the whole world were against us, because we know the Truth!