Weekly Thought – October 22, 2019
Fred’s ability to ask probing questions enabled him to effectively mentor others. He also used this technique to measure his own progress. Strength of character was his hallmark. When he assessed others as business associates, integrity was the first consideration. Someone asked him how he knew he still had self-respect. “When I wake up in the middle of the night and try to talk to the little boy who lives inside who knows right and wrong, black and white, and he tells me to get lost, I know I have lost my self-respect. When he and I have a good conversation and he says, ‘You’re doing fine’ I can go back to sleep.”
Asking About Ethics
My only reason to speak is to change attitudes and behavior, both those of the audience and mine. One of the questions I like to ask is: “What is the strength of your ethics?” Let me give four questions:
1) Are you using a scriptural or a secular base? God’s law or man’s law? J.C. Penney said, “I shall not be judged by the Heavenly Father according to what I do now, by the material success I achieve. I shall be judged by the honesty of my purpose and by the spirit with which I pursue life’s duties.” He saw work as worship; he had a scriptural base.
2) Do our ethics promote our self-respect? Solzhenitsyn heard that the Dean of Canterbury was friendly to communism. He responded when he heard the man had commented “Better Red than dead,” “Better dead than a scoundrel.”
3) Does our ethical base emphasize our responsibilities or our rights? I have noticed that any individual, organization or society that emphasizes its rights is constantly in conflict with others. Responsibilities have a way of overlapping and forming a bond; rights always clash together. Those who emphasize their rights eventually become paranoid which grows into an unrealistic level of conflict. Oftentimes, their philosophy turns into “the end justifies the means.” This is immoral and cannot coexist with moral ethics.
4) What is the effect of your ethical base on the development of your character? In a conversation with a middle-aged executive I learned his fast progress up the ladder left him uneasy and dissatisfied. “Fred, I’m really not happy with who I am becoming. I’m not a better husband, a better father, a better citizen, or even a better person. I’m successful, but I’ve become phony.” Character is an inside job, and it is largely determined by the succession of choices, desires, habits, and beliefs we inculcate and personify.
Let me ask you three serious questions to contemplate: 1) Am I happy with who I am becoming? 2) Are my ethics on a firm foundation? 3 Will my anchor of ethics hold in the tempest of temptation?
Making sure of ethical mile markers is an exercise before engaging in any enterprise. Waiting until the action has begun is too late. The lines must be drawn way before day one.
This week think about: 1) How clear are my ethical standards to myself, my family, and my workplace? 2) Where are my soft spots? 3) Who serves as an accountability partner for me?
Words of Wisdom: Emphasizing responsibilities creates a bond; demanding rights separates.
Wisdom from the Word: “Yes, your servant finds moral guidance there; those who obey them receive a rich reward.” (Psalm 19:11 NET Bible)