Business + ethics = success

"At the close of the year, our team finished among the top in the country."

I heard on a radio program recently that a high percentage of workers, when surveyed, admitted to having committed some unethical or illegal act within the last year, whether cheating on expense accounts, trading sex for sales, forging signatures, or accepting kickbacks. In every case, respondents attributed their violations to job-induced pressures such as long hours or high sales quotas.

Feeling pressured to behave unethically is certainly not new. The Bible includes many accounts of those who were tempted to violate moral law but found protection, freedom, and success by determining to obey God instead. Joseph is a great example. Potiphar's wife attempted to seduce him, and then when he refused her, she falsely accused him, which resulted in his imprisonment (see Gen., chaps. 39–45). But Joseph remained loyal to God. And ultimately he was freed from prison, assumed an important position as counselor to the Pharaoh, and was reunited with his estranged family. God provided a full recompense for Joseph's honesty and loyalty to good.

As in Joseph's experience, so it is in our own. Almost everywhere we turn, we are bombarded by those who either endorse or excuse unethical behavior, or show a total indifference to ethics. What can we do to ensure that we don't succumb to such pressures, and to be a positive force for good?

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April 27, 1998

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