I would like to share with you a quote that I believe summarizes the issue of character in business.
“Periodically, our country suffers business and political scandals which hit the front pages and shame us all. Also periodically, respected business and political leaders suggest that committees of prominent citizens to compose a new code of ethics for our time. As worthy as this seems at first, it is actually superfluous. We don’t need a new code of ethics. We need only abide by the instructions for moral conduct given to us by God in the Bible. For that matter morality cannot be negotiated, it cannot be legislated, it cannot be revamped by men to meet circumstances of any time or any place.” Marion E. Wade, Founder of ServiceMaster.
As Christians we have a unique role in the world of business and politics. Our faith when connected, embedded and inseparable from whom we are requires us to behave and act in ways distinctly different than the rest of the world. We have a rule book that we follow (the Bible) because of our love of Christ. And because we love, we sometimes make the mistake of not holding those around us accountable for their behavior when it is unacceptable.
Greed, corruption and self-interest are part of human nature, a sinful nature since that day in the Garden of Eden. For those who are not believers (or those who can hear and see but have not heard or seen the writing on the wall of God’s coming judgment and current expectations), more rules and regulations seem to be the answer. However, morality and good behavior cannot be legislated or regulated. It comes from people who make up organizations—corporations and government, big business and small, Wall Street and Main Street—having within them a core set of principles that include treating one another with love and respect, honoring and keeping your word, making and keeping agreements, serving one another in fair exchange of value for value.
One of example of the disconnect between faith and the “real world” of government (and business) comes from Nancy Pelosi. Beltway Confidential on June 7, 2012 heralded the headline quote from Senator Pelosi “I do my religion on Sundays, in church, and I try to go other days of the week; I don’t do it at this press conference,” Pelosi said curtly as a reporter asked about her view of the church position on contraception.
Faith is not a “Sunday only” or “in church only” thing. Faith is a 24/7/365 walk with God, doing God’s work. Every decision we make is made in the context of our belief and our relationship with God. Every action we take is to be guided and government by God’s commandments and precepts. Every relationship we have is subject to God’s judgment. Our relationship with God cannot be separated from our relationships and activities if we are truly honoring that relationship.
You may hear that you should “force” your beliefs on others. Following your beliefs and holding them sacred isn’t forcing them on anyone. But it is holding them up as a light of example toward a path that is clearly drawn for each of us to follow. There is one Way, one Light, one Truth and He is Jesus Christ. To know Him is to follow Him. To love Him, is to want to please Him. To live for Him, requires that we live according to His Ways.
When leaders political and business place their “religion” separate from their lives and actions, then they are separated from God. You cannot be in and of this world and follow the ways of the world. In Romans 12:2 we are told:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved