Yesterday I wrote: No wonder people are jaded by politics and business.
I want to talk a moment about business ethics. While some businesses are corrupt and greedy, not all the businesses being demonized by the Obama Administration and its mouthpiece the mainstream media are bad. The oil industry is one of them. This business makes a 3% profit; that means for every dollar they take in they make 3 cents. Would you stay in business if that is all you made? Of course you wouldn’t. Oh but they make record profits; that’s because they sell such huge volume.
But there are businesses that cheat and outright steal as well as individuals, unfortunately among them are self-professed Christians. If honesty is the true test of our character, no where is it more tested then when it comes to business and our money. Here’s what God had to say long ago about honesty in business deals:
“You shall not have in your bag differing weights, a heavy and a light. You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small. You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 25:13-15)
So how widespread is cheating in the business world? More than you realize and it’s because of the industry and its pressures lend to cheating. Donald McCabe writing at the Harvard Business Review Blog reveals this about graduate business students and cheating:
The cheating seems to indicate that MBA students are simply emulating behaviors they think are necessary to succeed in the corporate world. In spite of some recent exceptions, most have been taught about the supremacy of the bottom line in their MBA programs. Hitting that bottom line and personal success seem to go hand in hand for many. They are merely fulfilling expectations.
The pressures of business, keeping the CEO and stockholders happy, getting the bottom line met, whatever the stressor, promotes a culture of cheating. That does not excuse a Christian to cheat, cut corners, stretch the tax laws to their breaking limit, or just this once to see me through a hard time I’ll fudge the numbers. Billy Graham explains:
God hates cheating and this message is clear throughout the Bible. He expects you to be honest in your transactions and business dealings. If greed and covetousness often control you internally, this can lead to dishonesty. The material world sometimes offers an outward test of your inner attitudes.
Temptation comes in all forms, but not more stronger then when it comes to money. Our sinful nature towards greed and covetousness is primed for cheating. But we must overcome this. As Dr. Graham says, God’s message against cheating is clear throughout the Bible.
“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight… Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 11:1; 20:10)
Oh well Bro Dave, I’m okay here because I never use weights, scales or measures. Don’t miss the point here; Solomon is teaching against cheating. He was just describing the devices used for cheating. Cheating on your income taxes is using diverse measures.
Now I may offend some people but please understand this is serious. If you cheated, or say underreported your income or took a deduction you should not have, you better make it right, and in a hurry. You’re better off filing a Form 1040X and facing the IRS then waiting for God to deal with you. I’m only use this as an example of how we can cheat and why it is important to correct it. We must be honest if we are to be salt and light Christians. Paul constantly taught this:
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Open your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-2)
The “therefore” is there for the admonition to be holy Paul writes of in the preceding chapter. We can make a thousand excuses to justify an action, but as I taught my children, if it takes you more than 30 seconds to do so then it’s probably wrong.
Beloved, we are talking about honesty, the characteristic that should be all apparent in a Christian who is dedicated to defending and pursuing aletheia truth no matter where it leads. And if our actions do not match our words, then we are not speaking honestly.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers