What is integrity? It is a strict adherence to moral values and principles. One of the reasons why Jews felt confident enough to trade with other Jews long before the ease of communication made it possible to develop good relationships with each other was that they adhered to the same moral code. They knew that they could expect another Jew to follow the same ethical code as they did. If they followed the same rules then they could trust them.
One aspect of integrity is telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The problem is that we often do not know the whole truth. Remember the story that was told earlier about the blind men who felt the different parts of an elephant. Their ideas were so far apart that it would be a struggle to recognise that they were feeling the same animal yet those who could see what the blind men were doing knew that it was. Their inability to see the whole animal made it hard to work out the whole truth. They were limited to what they could feel. This meant that they lacked some of the information that they needed to make an accurate assessment of the situation.
That sounds familiar doesn’t it? So many times we cannot see the whole picture because of our past experiences. You can hear two different accounts of the same situation from say a husband and wife or parent and child. They start from their own preconceptions and sometimes it is a struggle to believe that they are talking about the same situation. The need then becomes to look at the situation from the perspective of the other side.
We can lie to ourselves.
We can deny that we have a problem or that it is not important enough for us to do something about. If we do not recognise that we have a problem, we cannot do anything about it. Problem is that we can get close to someone else and then see their problem as the big rock in our lives while ignoring our own. We can then expect them to change while we stay the same because we are blaming them for the problem. If there are two people involved in a situation both of them will have a share of the responsibility for what has gone wrong. The problem comes when someone does not take responsibility for their share or takes the wrong proportion of the responsibility for the problem.