Honesty in business or at work

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 10 – How we can develop ‘the love of the truth’ and the character quality , and habit, of truthfulness?

God also hates to see trickery and falseness in our business dealings:

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD,
but a just weight is His delight.

Proverbs 11: 1(NASB)

God detests cheating and every kind of scheme to swindle other people, whether they are our customers, colleagues or competitors. God loves it when our weights and measures are genuine and we don’t ‘short-change’ people. Many times I have been in a shop and the assistant has handed me back my change, but it is 50 pence or a pound too little.

When I raise the matter it is quite apparent from their reaction, and from the look on their face, that they were fully aware, and that the ‘error’ was intentional. They were just waiting to see whether I would notice. Sometimes they look brazen, or even resentful, about it. They don’t even mind that you know what they were up to. Amazing though it sounds, God finds time to concern Himself with every such incident. He notices, and it all matters to Him very deeply.

Sometimes in a workplace a person offers to tell a lie to “assist” you. He may even offer to do it expecting to be rewarded, or to be considered loyal, because of his willingness to lie for you. But I don’t want staff who are willing to lie for me. I’m not even willing to lie for myself, so I’d hardly want them to do it on my behalf. A person’s willingness to lie for their boss may impress others, but not me. Besides being inherently wrong, a practical point to bear in mind is that if a man is willing to lie for you, he will be equally willing to lie to you later, whenever the need arises. Such a man cannot be trusted.

Many a time I have interviewed staff who have offered to pretend to be ill so that they can get time off from their current employer to come to a second interview. They somehow imagine that that will impress me. The moment they offer to do that I cancel the second interview. If he is willing to lie to his current employer, then I know full well that he won’t hesitate to lie to me later. And, if he’s as open as that about it, he obviously doesn’t even consider it to be wrong. That means his conscience is already badly seared. Therefore he will be dishonest across the board, not just in relation to lying to employers.

Honesty with money

With money, nothing less than 100%, meticulous accuracy and honesty is needed. Resolve not to take anything that is not yours, however small. Don’t compromise, even at a microscopic level. If you do, you will inevitably find that the level of your dishonesty will start going up and up, until you are eventually embezzling large sums.

Every embezzler always begins by taking little bits of money, here and there, never large sums. If you harden your heart repeatedly with the little amounts, your heart will, one day, let you down when it faces the temptation to take large sums. Therefore, win the honesty battle over the pennies, and there will never be any battles over major sums.

Honesty in our use of power or authority

Many people, at all levels, abuse their position of authority in order to use, control or manipulate other people. Some do it purely for the pleasure of asserting themselves, feeling a sense of importance and drawing attention to their position of power. They get pleasure simply out of having power over someone, even if they are only in a lowly role or responsibility. In fact, that is where it most often occurs. Those with only a small amount of authority are the ones most likely to behave proudly.

That abuse of authority is a form of dishonesty, because it is the misuse of a position for an illegitimate reason. Our employer did not put us into an intermediate managerial or supervisory role so that we could get a thrill out of lording it over someone else. He put us there to serve the legitimate purposes of the business, and for no other reason. So, misusing a position or role is not much different from misusing a car or a piece of property for a purpose of which we know our employer would not approve.

next page in book