Compassion in business dealings
There is no doubt that the Bible is the best guide for teaching us how to conduct business transactions in an honest and ethical way.
The shaking of the global marketplace is the result of the treatment of the poor and the less fortunate in business transactions by business people; regardless of which areas of business they engage in, including government.
Many don't care because they believe that regardless of all they do, they will always be in business.
We are all customers in one way or another, hence, even if hard times befall a customer, it is imperative that business people carry out business dealings-transactions with compassion.
CEOs in various organisations must ensure that when they are recruiting or are placing people in position to deal with the public, their choices must go beyond academic qualifications.
If they want their organisations to remain viable, then they must put people in place that will show compassion. We cannot allow making a huge profit or the existing laws and guidelines to be excuses given for mistreating their customers-clients and to make judgements.
Any organisation or individual within the organisation who make decisions without showing mercy or compassion will not last. Before any decisions are made, you need to ask the question: 'How would I feel if I were on the other side of this situation?'
Many times, the representatives of these organisations smile in the faces of the customers and clients and say, 'I'm sorry, but this is a business decision'.
I have seen many people end up on the streets for something simple, when the organisation could simply work with them to get back on their feet - particularly the financial institutions; but there are many organisations that carry out business deals and show no mercy/compassion, leaving many people broken-hearted and bankrupt.
There is no one in this world who has never had a down period or loss. In life, we all have seasons, and different seasons come at different times for different people (Ecclesiastes 3).
Going through a hard season does not mean that the individual is careless. God may just be bringing them through a season to stregthen their faith because he wants to increase their business and, in the meantime, teach them a different level of mercy and compassion.
For example, when someone meets in an accident or dies, when the insurance company denies their families of any form of compensation, the unfair decision-maker will never understand what it is like until it happens to them one day - then they will understand.
Likewise, many of them will never understand what it is like for a person to own their home (or business) for over 40 years - where all their children grew up there and know no other place as home - and when they fall on hard times their place is taken away by the heads of these financial institutions and sold to their friends, instead of extending mercy and work with them, and allow them the opportunity to keep their homes.
How about when a husband and wife have retired after over 40 years or more of faithful service, and one spouse dies and the pension that was taken out of the salary of that deceased spouse is stopped instead of going to the household of that remaining spouse to take care of what they built together? Many can't even get their pension, and are unable to buy the medication they need to live a healthy life.
For so many, every cent is withdrawn from their already-small accounts in fees and other charges as a result of the greed of others.
The Bible is clear on how we must operate in business.
- Don't make the people redundant and not pay them (Deuteronomy 15: 13).
- Ensure that within your budget there is always something there for the poor (Leviticus 23: 22).
- Pay the people on time when they work. Don't take the money to invest in something else and have the people waiting unnecessarily for their earned pay/salary (Leviticus 23: 22).
- When someone falls on hard times, don't allow them to be slaves or engage in prostitution (Leviticus 25: 39).
- Don't take a bribe and quickly break a contract (Psalm 15: 1; 5; Micah 6: 5).
- Treat both staff and customers with respect (Leviticus 25: 43).
- Always conduct your business with integrity (Proverbs 22: 1; Leviticus 19: 35 - 36).
Conduct fair business practices. Give the consumer what you advertise. Don't trick them with the fine print.
Write off all the debts after seven years if you want the Lord to bless you in business. Don't sell the debts to other organisations, keeping the people enslaved.
Don't repossess or take the people's properties away on a weekend or when they have gone to church.
- Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.