2001-10-16 - Question Regarding a Work Situation
1 Peter 2:13-15 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
The question, "I work with some people that abuse drugs and "borrow" things. Our direct supervisor does nothing, and in fact has dirtied his hands. My question is: I feel this info needs to be passed on to the owner, but I feel that I would be doing this for the wrong reason. If certain people get fired, I would benefit. I am lost as what to do. Thanks..."
I will begin by relating a story. A friend of mine was taking a business class at a school, and the teacher posed the question to the class, "Lets say that you are CEO of a company, and someone in the company knows something about the company that could do it a lot of damage and drive down the price of the stock. What is your responsibility as CEO?" Suggestions were made like, "fire him," "pay him off to shut him up," and some others.
The teacher then suggested an option that none of the students had considered, have him killed. He was not saying this was the best solution, but he set it out there as an option. Sounds horrible, but the teacher reminded the students that as an employee, the CEO's first responsibility was to the company - and really to the stockholders of that company (who really own it). If you fire him, he can still talk. If you pay him off, he can still talk. But there is one sure way to make sure he will not damage the company.
Now this is clearly not anything a Christian could consider, but it highlights something about how the world thinks, and since most of us live and work in the world, we need to remember that we are aliens here (1 Peter 2:11), and that our citizenship is really in Heaven, Philippians 3:20. My point is that I think that as an employee of the company, your responsibility is to the owner. There is nothing wrong with doing something that will work to your advantage, if you are doing the right thing. I will speak more to your question a little further down. It is not an easy thing, to live in this world. Besides the fact that the world is not the natural country of the Christian, 2 Corinthians 5: 20, we are also to be here as the salt of the Earth, Matthew 5:13. Have you ever had a cut that got salt in it? It stings. The world is full of people who are walking around with wounded consciences which only serve to accuse them. As Christ said to the mob, regarding the woman caught in adultery, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first one to throw a stone at her," (John 8:7) and the mob all simply walked away. They knew that they had sinned, because their consciences reminded them of that truth.
How should we expect the world to react to us, when we are the salt of the earth, and we only serve to remind those who have not had their sins forgiven in Christ of their sin? We can expect them to react as we would to getting salt in an open wound. This tempts us to compromise, and to fail to walk faithfully to Christ. After all, that helps us to be less offensive to those around us, helps fit in, and be less salty. But even though the world is all around us, we can't compromise - and we must seek to serve Christ faithfully. I know I have tangented away from your question. However, the behavior of the people you work with, and my example above, really are telling us something about the world we live in. If you approach the owner, I think that you have to use caution in how you approach him or her. You should probably ask the owner to not to reveal the source of the information. You also can't say something that you can't clearly back up, or you could be accused of attacking reputations and of slander. If you can't confirm what you wish to say, by another witness or hard fact, you might need to say nothing. I know, by experience, it can be really hard to stand up and tell the truth in a work situation. It is a risk, but telling the truth is one of the things Christians do (or should do).
"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." Ephesians 4:25 See also Psalm 15:1, 2.
Soli Deo Gloria,