Integrity—how we are made whole

In the "News & Commentary" column this week, the Sentinel's interview with author and distinguished law professor Stephen L. Carter illustrates how crucial integrity is to a people's well-being. And in his newest book, Dr. Carter offers three fundamental criteria to be considered in applying his definition of integrity. Integrity (New York: HarperCollins, 1996), p. 7 . These include: "(1) discerning what is right and what is wrong; (2) acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and (3) saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong." He then continues: "The first criterion captures the idea of integrity as requiring a degree of moral reflectiveness. The second brings in the ideal of an integral person as steadfast, which includes the sense of keeping commitments. The third reminds us that a person of integrity is unashamed of doing the right." Integrity, therefore, in human affairs couldn't succeed—it could not even function—without personal responsibility.

All of this is understandably essential to an individual's own sense of value and identity, as well as to the social fabric in which individuals live, interact, and create their vision of a meaningful existence. And if we would bring still one more lens to the subject of integrity, we could see yet another facet to its wonderful power. From a spiritual vantage, integrity is recognized as something even more than the necessary moral bedrock on which a society builds its best aspirations and ideals. Integrity, in these terms, is a quality derived from God, which, in fact, expresses God.

Conforming to God's law
May 20, 1996

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