Integrity is not only doing the right thing when no one is looking — but it is doing the right thing when those who oppose you are looking and it will cost you more than you want to pay.
In the Old Testament Bible, Daniel didn’t make a big show of his own integrity, but his integrity was so much a part of his character — that those who hated him and wanted to usurp him knew that his integrity was the only guaranteed way that they could trap him. So they laid their plans in place for their trap, but the lions that they expected to kill him destroyed and devoured them and their families instead.
Lord, that enemy that roams around like a lion looking for someone to devour, may his mouth be shut towards your children who walk in integrity even when the cost is high — and may his mouth be open to devour and destroy those who make schemes, plot against and hate those who stand firm and true.
Many times I have failed you Lord, but I pray that I will never be found laying traps for the innocent and the upright intentionally. I pray that when my ignorance and foolishness has stumbled others that it was through my own negligence and not anything malicious or with evil intent.
But I do not even trust my own heart to have not deceived me in such things, Lord. Because there are those who I believe have wronged me, and treated me unfairly, and accused me strongly — those who my flesh cries out against them for justice, for retribution, for revenge — those who nevertheless, I must hand over to you in hopes that they might repent.
Even a man who wishes for “satisfaction” in this life has no longing for his enemy to face death, hell and eternal separation from God. And if I can wish that the whole of a man’s sin be forgiven to save him from the wrath of God, shouldn’t I also wish that his few wrongs towards me personally be forgiven? How prideful would it be to believe that another man’s sins towards me were worthy of lasting bitterness — but his sins against God were somehow “less” concern to me?
So integrity is also laying down our “rightful claims” against our enemies to pray for their salvation rather than their destruction — choosing to be a witness giving the benefit of doubt to our neighbor, rather than an accuser and and enemy of our brothers and sisters.
So if I cry out for justice, let it be against those powers and principalities working from the shadows against your people, Lord. Let me cry out against those enemies that are not flesh and blood and see those true enemies shackled and defeated — while the once captive children of God are set “free indeed” in Christ Jesus!
So, Lord, help us to walk in integrity — with little thought to reward, cost, or revenge — but trusting that you know better than we do when and how to open and shut the mouths of the lions. Amen.
People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.
Proverbs 10:9 NLT
Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.
Proverbs 28:6 NLT
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
1 Peter 3:13-17 NLT
3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. 4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
Daniel 6:3-5 NLT
9 So King Darius signed the law. 10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.” 14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament. 15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.” 16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. 19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” 23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God. 24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den. 25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! 26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. 27 He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel 6:9-11, 13-28 NLT