Friday, April 04, 2008

Leadership With Integrity

This morning in my men's group, we did a Bible study on integrity and its importance in leadership. We had some incredible discussion and I hope we were transformed.

When I got to my office, I read an article that talked about calling evil good in the workplace. It talked about seven of the ways we do this today:

1. Greed is good. This is a famous statement from the movie Wall Street. The sentiment expressed is that money is the bottom line and therefore the driving agenda of business. Even though we should be good stewards and make a profit, ultimately success—from a biblical worldview—is not denominated in monetary terms, but in the degree of alignment with the will of God (John 17:4; James 4:13–17).

2. Lying is an acceptable tactical tool. A study found that 93 percent of workers use lying as a tactical tool to accomplish their objectives. This means that truth is subordinated to results or, as is commonly stated, that the end justifies the means. John 8:32 states that the truth sets us free from the bondage of sin. Given this reality, the opposite must be true, namely, that lies put us into bondage to sin. A person in bondage to sin will not prosper (Psalms 1).

3. Pride is a sign of strength. A popularly regarded teaching is to never apologize because that would be a sign of weakness. Pride was the original sin of Satan and of Adam and Eve in the Garden. The opposite of pride is humility. When the question was posed, What does the Lord require of man? one of the key virtues was humility (Micah 6:8).

4. Cheating on expense reports is a perk. Most companies reimburse employees for expenses incurred during the course of business. Many employees discern how closely these reports are monitored and take the liberty to fudge and pocket a little extra cash. This practice is an injustice to companies and is an example of unjust weights and measures that God detests (Proverbs 20:10).

5. Deception is a competitive advantage. In an aggressive workplace, it seems that everyone is looking for a competitive advantage. For those who believe that values can be compromised for the sake of profit, truth is frequently sacrificed. Solomon exhorts us to buy truth and to not sell it, which means that truth is to be highly valued and not to be compromised. (Proverbs 23:23)

6. Stealing is an entitlement. Most workers view companies as wealthy and stingy. In other words, workers many times assume that companies make a lot of money but fail to properly compensate their workers. Hence, these workers feel entitled to rectify this inequity by stealing. Worker theft includes stealing company resources, failing to properly use time, and failing to develop and utilize talents. In addition, workers steal whenever they place personal agendas ahead of the organization's interests (Titus 2:9–10).

7. Self-centeredness is self-protection. Another common assumption of workers today is that "no one is looking out for me so I have to look out for myself." This creates a narcissistic environment in companies, which is counterproductive. To perform well, a company must function as a team, which requires selflessness, not self-centeredness, on the part of the workers (Matthew 16:24; 1 Corinthians 12).

Why do we do this? Why do we try to justify evil behavior and make it "not so bad?"

In our discussion this morning we talked about how almost all of us do this in one way or another. The topic of the speed limit came up and I think every one of us in the group squirmed in our seat and admitted that we speed from time to time ("But everyone else is doing it...").

From a Biblical perspective, sin is sin. Though speeding is more acceptable than say, adultery; in God's eyes, it is still sin.

Can I be honest with you? I think this stinks.

It sure would be easier if God would give us a sliding scale on the severity of our sins. Then I wouldn't feel so much like a sinner.

If that were the case though, I would probably feel like I don't need God as much as I do. Thankfully God knows what He's doing!


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J. R. Miller said...

All good points. I especially resonate with your point about celebrating pride as strength.

Jim Lange said...

Thanks J.R.!