(Pro 19:1 KJV) Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
The Bible certainly recognizes people are not all the same. It recognizes the differences between “poor” (7326) and rich, king and subject, fool and wise. Some are “better” (2896a) than others. In most cultures people are told to respect their betters and “betters” has been defined by social class. God has a different standard for ranking people.
What is measured is how a man “walks” (1980) in the path given to him. This has been adopted as part of the traditional American ideal, even if not accepted by many. The same could be said about the church. Too often we give extra credibility to people of wealth, education, looks or family.
A pattern of “integrity” (8537) is a part of our heritage. This is the quality lifted out here. I am currently teaching seventh grade. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is the ease with which the younger generation lies. It is the exception when you find an honest student. I once taught a speech class and the final speech was titled “Five Principles That Guide My Life.” In some cases I could not convey what I meant by that. The idea of basic principles was hard for them to grasp. When they did some would pick honesty as one principle. I was shocked to hear a consistent mantra with them: Always tell the truth, unless you needed to lie. Pastors, teachers and parents need to work hard at teaching moral and ethical behavior.
Even more important is that we model integrity ourselves and become standard bearers not just standard teachers. There are some things which are “better caught than taught” as trite as that saying is. Integrity is one of them.