Those who walk in integrity in their ways do not have to look over their sholders as they live their lives. That is becasue a walk of integrity doesn't have anything to hide. That is the lesson that we can learn from today's proverb.
The one who walks in integrity is very secure. The word integrity means to walk in a completeness. It has the idea of a clear conscience - or doing what you do with no hidden motives. Abimelech stated that it was with a clear conscience that he took Sarah as a wife. The problem in that relationship arose because of Abraham's lie that she was his sister. Abraham would have argued that this was a half truth - but since it landed his wife in a foreign king's harem - it was nothing more than a cowardly lie. But Abimelech was an honest man in this situation - and God warned him so he would not sin. That is the protection offered to us by walking in integrity. It guards us and protects us from willful rebellion against God. We are told that integrity is not only a way to walk secure - but the psalmist says in Psalm 25:21 that it is a way to be protected as well. Truth is always an ally to whoever walks in it. That is the peace that integrity provides.
The man who walks in perversity has no such promise. This man perverts his ways. Note the emphasis here on personal responsibility. He perverts his own ways - it is due to his own choice to do so. There is no way to blame everyone else for his own choices to pervert his ways. The word pervert means to twist or to make uneven. It refers to a moral and ethical choice to pervert and twist what is right - and once again what is right is what is laid out in Scripture. The sentence for such actions is that they will not remain secret. He will be found out. We can try to hide our sin - but the problem with this is that we will be found out in the end. For many they are found out before they die - which honestly is the more merciful choice. That is because when this is the case the man has a chance to repent and turn from his sin - finding mercy and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
Some use a passage like this to make it seem that God wants to humiliate them. The fact is that God knows our sin the moment we commit it - and honestly - even before with his knowledge of all things past, present, and future. But God would prefer that we be found out by the convicting work of His Holy Spirit. When we respond to that conviction, we can come to Him and find grace and forgiveness. We choose to reveal our sin ourselves. It is only the man who consistently tries to hide his sin that faces being found out in the more embarassing ways. The Psalmist tells us that the man who hides his transgressions will not prosper - but the one who confesses and forsakes them will receive compassion. So, if you read this proverb and were convicted - but the devil and your own flesh is seeking to convince you to continue to hide your sin - don't! Turn to the Lord and confess and forsake it! That is the wise thing to do. Expose it yourself to the Lord - and if it is a persistant, besetting sin, turn to a brother or sister who can help hold you accountable as you deal with it over time. You don't have to face complete humiliation before men. Admit your sins to the Lord - and follow James' advice to confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed! That is the way to turn from walking in perversity to a life of integrity once again.