Daily Encouragement: Year 1, Day 28

Adapted from Handbook to Leadership

Personal Development: Integrity

Matthew 23:1–39

Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites seven times in this sermon (vv. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29). His language reveals His anger. Notice that each verse that includes the word hypocrite begins with the words “woe to you.” In this passage Jesus chided the Pharisees for saying one thing and doing another.

Integrity—the direct opposite quality of hypocrisy—is the quality that people want most to see in a leader. The Pharisees didn’t live up to that standard. When we talk about integrity today, we generally use other, closely related terms such as ethics and morality. But a clear understanding of the concept of integrity requires clear thinking about all three words. Each has a distinct meaning.

When properly used, they bring clarity to a crucial but often misunderstood leadership essential:

  • Ethics refers to a defined standard of right and wrong; good and evil. It’s what the Pharisees said they believed was right.
  • Morality is a lived standard of right and wrong, good and evil. It’s what the Pharisees actually did.
  • Integrity means “sound, complete, integrated.”

A person who claims to be a Christian makes an ethical statement and has committed to a certain morality. For that person to have integrity, then, he or she must live by the biblical ethic. Jesus makes it unequivocally clear that the worst choice is the hypocritical one.

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