This is a question that has perplexed me. Oh sure, there have been whole books and Bible studies written about it. So, what is integrity? These are some answers I have come up with. Integrity is being honest, having good character, having strong moral principles, but more importantly integrity is also being the same person in public that you are in private.
According the Strong’s Bible Concordance, integrity is, tōm (pronounce tome), is the same word for completeness, fullness, innocence, or simplicity.
In the Bible story Ruth, Boaz has everything he could want lying at his feet (literally). He’s got a beautiful woman who wants to marry him, a whole inheritance that comes with her, and more land added to his wealth. Not even Naomi knew about the relative closer than Boaz. It could have been a well kept secret, but Boaz chose to do the right thing and seal the deal with many witnesses.
Ruth’s integrity is mentioned in the story as well. She is described as a hard worker, taking only breaks for meals during work time. When she found out Boaz was not the closest relative, she could have left him and gone to the relative, but Ruth 3:11 says she was known for her virtue in the city of Bethlehem. Ruth instead chose to be with Boaz who had helped her and had shown love to her. She loved him in return.
Inside and out, Boaz and Ruth were the same. They both showed themselves to be full of integrity. They acted the same in private and in public. There are many other historical Bible figures that I could rattle off: Daniel, Job, Esther, Barnabas, Mary of Bethany, and of course, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, it is tough to do the right thing when you face dire circumstances. Whether you learn from Boaz and Ruth, or from other Bible stories, do the right thing, and exercise intergrity, even when no one is watching.