The Idolatry of Integrity


We idolise integrity. It’s an understandable reaction to the shocking lack of integrity on display in this world. From drug-traffickers to abusive spouses to tax cheats, political liars and workplace betrayers – we reel, our confidence in humanity battered and bruised.

The prescription has been to champion integrity – the husband who rebuffs the sexy siren, the business owner who pays ALL their taxes, the storekeeper who says ‘oh no you’ve given me too much money’.

We even want our leaders to be bastions of integrity with a perfect family and most importantly, the perfect moral compass with a deviation of ’0′.

This great whitewash of a gritty humanity robs us of a greater virtue: redemption. It is a higher and more pleasurable observation to witness the redeemed – former drug traffickers, former abusers, former criminals, former liars and former mean people. These people have already failed, and having failed, are free to practise integrity without expectation.

What a glorious freedom!

Instead, we raise the ‘integrity’ standard ever higher so that we all risk contravening it at least once in our long lives. We demand ‘integrity from perfection’ when we should be demanding ‘integrity from redemption’ because life doesn’t begin until you’ve failed.

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