“Do the Right Thing” was a Spike Lee film in the 1980’s. The phrase has been popular ever since and found its way into many corporate ethics discussions. It seems so easy to do, if it is the right thing or the good you ought to do, why not do it? We know that the answer can be complicated. Kent Keith, the author of the book “Anyway”, lists the ten paradoxical commandments of life. Paradoxical commandment number nine says “Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth; Give the world your best anyway”. You may have heard the phrase “No good dead will go unpunished”, we do good anyway because it is written on our hearts. It is certainly easier for us to do the things that: cause us less work, make us more money, won’t hurt anyone and won’t create a conflict or simply do something because everyone else is doing it. Being a leader however isn’t easy, that’s why work is called labor. As a leader we have an obligation to our staff to do the right thing, all the time, and to continue to do it even if it isn’t appreciated. Integrity can be described as doing the right thing even when no one is watching. We are however, never alone.
James 4:17 – “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it sins.”
God is always with us, in thought, words and deeds. He knows what is in our heart and see’s even the little things we say and do. So when we know better and don’t do it or when we take the easy way out, we sin. There are a lot of things we do that are a result of the old Adam in us, things we do that result in sin. Knowing the good you ought to do and then consciously deciding against it is sin too. We are not perfect and God knows that, which is why gave us an example to follow – Jesus. Jesus is not only a great example but He came to reconcile us with God by taking the punishment for all of ours sins upon Himself so that we could have forgiveness for our sins. Jesus has shown us Love and obtained the forgiveness for our sins. No matter what has happened, turn away from the sin in your life and turn to God seeking forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
A lot can be said today about corporate ethics, the American people have no faith in Wall Street. Our responsibility as leaders is to not only lead with the highest moral standards but to teach our people how to make ethical choices. There was never a time more important to lead by example then when demonstrating how to make high ethical decisions. As leaders, we are put in a position to make decisions; sometimes they involve personnel and other times they involve the business. Regardless, we need to make decisions that maintain the highest standards and provide our personnel or our customers with the best outcome. Integrity can be simply stated as doing the right thing even when no one is looking. People appreciate it when their leaders are consistent and have their best interest in mind and our customers expect the same thing. As leaders, we are in a place to govern God’s people – providing them with direction and making decisions that affect them.
1 Kings 3:9 – “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and distinguish between right and wrong.”
The verse today can be used as a prayer to God from his faithful servant. We are bombarded with threats everyday and the urge to sin is ever present. We sin daily, the pressure to succeed is always upon us and it would be so easy to cut a few corners, change a few numbers, leave out a couple of details or simply lie. Who will know or even find out? Even if they do, it could be late enough that it won’t really matter anyway. But God knows, he knows before we do. If we do fall and sin when choosing between right and wrong; God’s grace has freed us from the guilt and the sin by giving us His only son, Jesus Christ, to bear our punishment. We can be free from guilt and filled with forgiveness by God’s love for us. We have been given the grace of God and a great example of how to live our lives in Jesus. God is great indeed! If you have fallen to sin, ask for forgiveness, receive it and do what is right – always. By asking God for a discerning heart to do what is right you’ll always be able to look at yourself in the mirror.