"Better is the poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich"
This is one of the crucial value proverbs that needs to be implanted in the psyche of righteous people. Solomon wants people to realize that you will be given options in this world that look like the right thing to do in that you gain wealth by doing it. But the cost will be your integrity. You must be prepared for these types of choices and keep your integrity. The three consistent strong temptations – money, sex, and power – are not worth it when stacked against what one loses if they are pursued unrighteously.
The word integrity means simplicity and upright. Instead of becoming a duplicitous person, one maintains his integrity. A person must not lie or act righteous even while performing unrighteousness. These ways of gaining money and prestige are corrupting – the person who goes along with financial mismanagement because they will be cut in on the skim. Lack of integrity comes in many forms – pretending to be within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments while living outside of it in various parts of your life. This is a corrupting game that will eventually catch up with you. Get all of your person inside the boundaries of moral behavior.
Now there is a new type of integrity that is really not integrity at all but is really a form of foolishness. This is the idea in some young people that believe "I should be able to say and do whatever I want no matter what I feel." The idea of submitting to someone else's agenda or selling out to the man is then not being true to yourself. Having integrity means that you do not sell out to the impulses of your lower selfish nature. The idea of integrity means not pretending to be righteous when one is really unrighteous. To be unrighteous and open about that is not integrity but wicked. Lying, deceit, and pretense abound in those who pursue their own selfishness.