Integritas – The Power of Integrity

The Latin root for the word integrity is integritas – which means wholeness and completeness. Here, I use the opportunity of visiting the ancient Roman city of Jerash in Amman, Jordan to tell another story about the centurion.  In the Roman military tradition, the soldiers would line up for inspection and as the centurion approached each man, the soldier would bang his breastplate with his fist and shout, “Integritas!” which meant, “I am whole. I am complete. And I am prepared for battle…!”

I was first exposed to this history in a speech by General Charles Krulak, then commandant of the US Marine Corps.

4 thoughts on “Integritas – The Power of Integrity

  1. What a great example of being prepared and ready for the fight. When we get 100 men united in purpose to do the right thing, then the power that a Centurion can be brought to bear with great success on any challenge.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. That’s what is meant by “submission” to authority. Nowadays we tend to view the word submission as derogatory. In reality, it means being “under the mission.” In other words, committed to fulfilling the mission. As we might say in the South, “Them’s fightin’ words…!”

  3. “Integrity” often appears in law enforcement and miltary core values, mission statements, motttos, etc.

    Rightly understood, it is a quality that our culture is increasingly crying out for. Its absence creates a hollowness and uncertainty in all arenas of life…family, workplace, community and internatial relations.

    Integrity appears often in the Scriptures beginning with Noah, however my favorite is Proverbs 11:3 “The integrity of the upright guides them but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” (NIV)How often we see an officer, or a department “destroyed” by their duplicity…their failure to be whole in their allegiance to their oaths or other standards of conduct. “The integrity of the upright guides them”…

    John “Barney” Barnes

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