Righteousness keeps him who is upright in the way, and wickedness overthrows a sin offering.Proverbs 13:6
Those who have integrity are often described with similar terms such as “upright” or “perfect.” This idea of perfection, though, is not as though one is completely without fault; it is more a concept of completeness, or wholeness.
Yeshua uses the phrase in a similar way when he encourages believers to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” (Matt. 5:48). This is a Hebraic way of expressing that believers should be totally consistent in their lifestyle: their beliefs and what they say should match 100% with what their actions convey. This is wholeness, perfection, integrity.
In the proverb above, walking in righteousness is said to guard or “keep” one in the way of God. The more our lives demonstrate consistency, the simpler it is to stay on the correct path.
By contrast, when our lives are in disarray and when our actions are inconsistent, we struggle more to keep our focus where it needs to be. The wickedness of those who do not walk with integrity is said to “overthrow their sin offering.” This is a demonstration of how even the best of intentions can be counteracted by a pattern of inconsistent behavior.
Living a life of integrity or wickedness is a life of momentum. The weight of our everyday thoughts and actions drive a flywheel of consequence that can keep us headed in positive or negative directions based on patterns we are establishing in every decision.
When we are consistent in our actions and our speech, we establish patterns of righteousness that tend to keep us walking in the right way. Sin is less of a temptation and a distraction because we have established views and behaviors that we begin to thrive in. This encourages further righteous actions and as a result, we begin to exhibit larger measures of integrity in our interactions with others.
My eyes are on the faithful of the land, to dwell with me, Whoever is walking in a perfect way, he serves me.Psalm 101:6