A local religious columnist, the Rev. Anthony Robinson, has written today in the Seattle P.I. that he thinks integrity is more valuable than compassion; he notes that he disagrees with the Dalai Lama in this regard but he makes a good point. This may be a matter of semantics, for surely integrity and compassion work together to make human life most humane.
Rev. Robinson delineates what he see as the marks of integrity; he's got a Top Ten that is quite substantive. But what does each quality say about a person? Here is his list, which I've paraphrased and added to. Italics are mine. See what you think.
1. What you see is what you get. A person of integrity doesn't say one thing and do another.
2. S/He honors commitments and keeps promises. And that would include not making promises or commitments one doesn't want to keep.
3. S/He is truthful. The person of integrity doesn't lie or embroider the truth to make it more dramatic or less painful.
4. S/He is consistent. You can count on this person to be reliable in her/his behavior.
5. S/He takes responsibility for her/his mistakes. This person doesn't weasel out on blame and s/he makes amends when s/he hurts someone.
6. S/He doesn't whine when things go wrong. This person doesn't blame others or make excuses for the problems s/he faces.
7. S/He cares about the work, the mission, the product, and a job well done. This person isn't in it for the money or the recognition or the advancement but for the satisfaction of having done it well.
8. S/He is skeptical of simple answers to complex problems. The person of integrity looks below the surface of a problem to find its source and avoids stopgap measures as much as possible, preferring to deal with a problem close to its source.
9. S/He minds her/his own business. This person focuses on her/his own work and avoids getting drawn into the responsibilities of another.
10. S/He knows it's not possible to go through life without making mistakes or hurting others inadvertently. This person is able to forgive him/herself for mistakes and to extend that forgiveness to others, giving encouragement rather than blame.
I don't know about you, but I see a lot of compassion weaving in and out of these characteristics of a person of integrity. Do you mind if I invent the word "integritous"? I think we need it.