The integrity of the upright will guide them. But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
The word integrity means wholeness or undivided oneness. The idea in this verse is that if you are always the same person in every situation and every relationship, that oneness – that undivided type of thinking – will tell you what to do in each new situation.
If you would not cheat in business, then you should not and will not in golf. If you would not utter swear words in the family, then you should not when your team loses the game or you hit your thumb with the hammer. It means when you don’t know what to do, you look at the decision before you and ask yourself if you would you do this kind of thing in another context. If the answer is no, then don’t do it. If the answer is yes, then move ahead.
There are too many people who are duplicitous – people who act one way at church or around friends and a different way in business and sports. What is amazing is that even though people try and play a deceptive game of “I will only be like this in one area of my life,” it always bleeds over and they cheat, lie, steal, swear, are unfaithful, and angry in every relationship.
Strive for wholeness… be the same way… always aim to stay in the Ten box – INSIDE THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
will guide you
The interesting thing is that this phrase will guide you can be understood in two ways. It could be the idea that when a person does not know what to do and is righteous, he/she should look to that which is full of integrity and in line in every way with the Ten Commandments. This is a reasonable application of this idea. What is consistent with righteousness is the right question when one does not know what to do and then do that particular thing.
The second way of looking at this phrase is what will happen. Your integrity will guide you. In other words, that which you do consistently will guide you. The only question is whether you will be guided by the best advice. I have watched person after person do what seemed right to them or what was consistent to them even though it made no sense. This is the principle that we make a series of choices and then those choices begin to make us. It is the accumulation of our choices that determine what we will do in almost every case.
Notice that integrity and crookedness are parallel to one another in this proverb. One either acts in a way that is consistent with the path of righteousness or one acts consistent with twisted or crooked, selfish dealings. It is the accumulation of these choices that will guide each person and seem right to them.
Ask yourself the question whether your typical solution to a problem results in good being accomplished. Does it have the ring of what is inside of the Ten Commandments? Or does it come out wrong consistently even though it feels like the right thing? You are either being guided by what is outside the Ten Commandments or what is inside the Ten Commandments. This guidance is either building your life or it is tearing down what is really wonderful about life.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.