The term “business ethics” has longed being considered an oxymoron in many Christian and non-Christian circles. Christian children are told that they are “too straight” to really make it big in the world of business.
Furthermore, the new economy brings additional pressures to anyone trying to be ethical in business.
* The speed of the new economy
To succeed in the new economy you need to move a project from idea to market in four months.
“The internet economy worships at the altar of fast action, fast growth, and fast results. Plenty of companies are prepared to cut a few ethical corners in order to move faster..” (George Anders, ”Honesty is the Best Policy”, FAST COMPANY, August 2000, 264).
* Potential abuse of new technology
Coupled with the enormous speed pressure of the new economy, is the rapid growth in technology with its potential for both good and bad. Ethical infractions are progressing “as fast as technology and the Internet.” (John Galvin, ”Cheating, Lying, Stealing”, SMART BUSINESS, June 2000, 88).
Yet God”s demands for honesty remains. The Scripture states clearly that:
1. God opposes dishonesty.
“The Lord hates cheating, but he delights in honesty” (Proverbs 11:1, NLT).
The language cannot be any stronger. God HATES cheating. Therefore God”s people are to take pains to avoid it.
2. God”s people are to be guided by honesty.
“Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty” (Proverbs 11:3 NLT). Honesty, and therefore honest business dealings, are to be a hallmark of God”s people.
How then are Christians to reconcile the demands of their faith with the demands to compromise their ethics to be successful in business?
Again, God’s Word gives us a clue.
Proverbs 11:18 tells us that “evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.”
The Bible does not deny that dishonesty may get you some short term benefits but as always the Scripture challenges us to look long term.
The remarkable thing is that even the business community is beginning to recognize that honesty is ultimately good business.
A recent study commissioned by the management consulting firm of Blessing/White discovered that companies that operated with a strong sense of values:
*See their revenues grow four times faster
*Jobs get created seven times faster
*Stock prices increase twelve times faster
(John Galvin, 99).
You may argue that the above results applies solely in the American context. The truth is, these sort of results are beginning to appear all over the place.
Never forget that Satan is the Father of Lies. He has been conning us since the Garden of Eden.
Who says you have to be dishonest to really make it in business?
No one is saying that it is easy to practice business ethics in a fallen world.
But I see no other option for disciples of Jesus Christ.
And it might just prove to be good business too.