"The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." (v.9)
We turn now to look at what I consider to be the second pillar of wisdom - integrity. This theme, like trust, is one that is continually emphasised in Proverbs for, as we shall see, no one can be truly successful in life without integrity. The dictionary defines integrity as: "wholeness, soundness, trustworthiness, uprightness, honesty." You can see at once that there is a moral quantity about integrity and that morality is an essential characteristic of wisdom. One of the mistakes many people make when thinking about wisdom is to confuse it with learning, intelligence, brilliance or cleverness. How many times do we read in our newspapers of those who have climbed the ladder of success, have been highly educated or have achieved great prominence in the world, only to see them come tumbling down because of some moral indiscretion? Many professional people have a great deal of knowledge but lack wisdom. For example, you see this in the marriage counselor who, in spite of all his credentials, can't hold his own marriage together; in the economist who goes bankrupt playing the stock market; in the preacher who shocks his congregation by running off with a young woman. Learning, understanding, intelligence and professional training are important - dont hear me demean them - but if we are to be experts in the art of living, as Proverbs sets out to teach us, then we must see that without wisdom the things I have listed don't count for too much. "The simplicity of integrity is the profundity of wisdom," says Paul Larsen. How true! How very true!