INTEGRITY IN LEADERSHIP
By Ray H. Hughes • Summer 1988
Integrity implies an incorruptible soundness in moral character as displayed in fulfilling trusts. It embodies sincerity, honesty, and veracity with all of their nuances of meaning. It denotes a wholeness of character. For the purpose of this presentation, I am defining integrity in terms of sincerity, honesty, and veracity.
The word, sincere derives from the Latin word sincerus which means “clean or pure.” It means literally “without wax”—sin (without) and cere (wax), which refer to the ancient custom of using wax to fill in hairline cracks in pottery or to hide flaws in cloth. These flaws would not be revealed until exposed to heat or sunlight. This is the meaning of the word as used in Philippians 1:10: “That ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” God wants sincere leadership which is the same in actual character as it is in outward appearance—genuine and
This was demonstrated when Samuel went to the home of Jesse to select a leader for Israel from among his sons. When Samuel saw Eliab, the eldest son who was tall and handsome and had some of the characteristics of Saul, who stood head and shoulders above his peers, he said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”
(1 Samuel 16:6, 7).
David, the youngest of his sons and the least likely candidate in the eyes of his brothers, was chosen. Later, the Holy Spirit records, “And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:72 NIV). Woodrow Wilson once said, “A man must be something before he can do anything.” This is especially true in the ministry. In no profession is the man behind the profession so important as in Christian leadership. A man may perform some tasks well with an impaired character, but not so in the ministry. What one is, to a great extent, determines what he produces and the effectiveness of that production. One cannot divorce lifestyle from leadership.
I have been quite amused at political candidates who plead,
“Do not judge me for what I am; judge me according to what I can do and according to my talents.” Although every leader is a man of like passions as others, more is expected of the leader because he has accepted the responsibility of leading. Not only is more expected of him: he will also have the greater judgment.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). James says, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation
[judgment] (James 3:1).
Engage / FALL 2015