We live in a secular world. Yet, how we conduct ourselves, in business, has at its foundation God’s moral laws – what we call today, business ethics. Business ethics calls for us to be honest, respectful, wise, prudent, just, tactful and courteous in transacting business with others. These ethics require us to be virtuous, if we want to be successful!
Business Ethics at Work
Honest – The Eighth Commandment states, “You shall not bear dishonest witness against your neighbor” (Deut. 5:20). God calls us to live by the truth. Live an upright life, both in action and speech; tactfully, and with kindness.
Respectful – “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt 7:12). God calls us to love unconditionally and that means respecting others, especially when we do not see eye to eye. We must not only respect others, but respect differences of opinion as well.
Wise – “In the heart of the intelligent wisdom abides, but in the bosom of fools it is unknown” (Prov. 14:33). God calls us to use our smarts when transacting business; not just because of the bottom line, but because it is the right thing to do. Make wise decisions that benefit the common good. Transcend above your own desires to seek what is best for the many.
Prudent – “The shrewd man does everything with prudence, but the fool peddles folly” (Prov. 13:16). Prudence allows us to understand right from wrong. Apply practical reason to your decision-making process, so that you may determine the true good every time, as well as choose the proper means for achieving the true good.
Just – “You shall not distort justice; you must be impartial. You shall not take a bribe; for a bribe blinds the eyes even of the wise and twists the words even of the just. Justice, and justice alone, shall be your aim, that you may have life” (Deut. 16:19-20). Justice resides in the will of every person, yet a truly just person is distinguished by right reason and upright conduct. By adhering to the Ten Commandments and living an upright life, you will demonstrate justice in all interactions with others.
Tactful – “The words of the wicked are a deadly ambush, but the speech of the upright saves them” (Prov. 12:6). God calls us to communicate truth; but sometimes, truth comes with the harshness of reality, and may not be well received, unless we apply tact. Use a tone that will be well received. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that can either result in positive change, or severed relationships. To be tactful, one must draw on compassion, respect and love when delivering difficult news. Express empathy.
Courteous – “…love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10). God calls us to serve one another. We must anticipate our customer’s needs. Think ahead, and with all business, be polite and do it with kindness toward others.
Business Ethics are Virtue Based
Embrace these virtues in your daily work and you will see the fruit of your labors. May you be blessed with the abundance of virtue in serving God and others.
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