Ethics and competition

Intense competition between corporations is a fact of life for many. Sometimes the desire for success results in legal improprieties or unethical behavior. And when such practices lead to apparent success, some may question the need for ethics.

Despite the short-term gains wrong behavior may offer, only an ethical stance can lead to permanent security. The honest man not only has the joy of knowing he has done right; he also understands that with each moral decision he is building a foundation of integrity and strength that won't collapse in time of trouble.

Ethical and unethical outlooks on life differ radically. The unethical viewpoint considers man a finite mortal struggling with other mortals for his needs. In this view one strives for material goals as proofs of success, but is always in danger of losing these gains to another. One individual's gain is another's loss; one person's success is another's failure.

The individual who lives from a Christian basis of morality recognizes that man's true nature is spiritual, Godlike. Godlike man is provided for by an infinitely good God, who is Spirit. Permanence and stability are his. His joy is spiritual; it doesn't depend on material goods or personal prestige.

The Biblical accounts of Jacob and Joseph illustrate this point. From the beginning Jacob was a schemer. He even stooped to tricking his aged father. Eventually he realized that reliance on materiality is futile and learned that living in accord with God's will is the only road to true peace and joy. n1

n1 See Genesis 25:20-32:32.

Joseph, on the other hand, was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. But he never surrendered his moral standards or his trust in God. As a result, he survived to become Pharaoh's overseer - the second most powerful man in the kingdom - and was able to save many, including his family, from famine. n2

n2 See Genesis 37:3-45:11.

Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount gives a sound spiritual basis for behavior. He said, ''Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.''

He warned that those who did not lead spiritually based lives were like ''a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell.'' n3

n3 Matthew 7:24-27.

Thus every time someone makes a choice that is spiritually and morally sound, he is building on a rock, and each time he opts for dishonesty, he is on an unstable foundation of sand.

Honesty and dishonesty, like Spirit and matter, don't mix. If one is striving to prove his dominion over the limitations and pressures of material living, one has to seek the right in each case. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine, revealing spiritual understanding and the consciousness of man's dominion over the whole earth.'' n4

n4 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, p. 14

Our individual choices can make all the difference. For instance, I once had a job that required me to obtain bids from vendors. One of our projects involved a substantial sum of money, and the vendors offered me bribes to induce me to give them the work. I had always tried to be impersonal in my evaluations, but now I was tempted by the bribes. I finally realized that I could either continue to build my ''house'' - my career - on the rock of integrity, or I could let a bribe deprive me of my honesty and my history of loyalty to the company. I decided to reject the ''inducements'' and evaluate the vendors as I always had. The transaction worked out well for everyone.

The individual who really seeks to lead a life based on moral integrity and spiritual commitment loves God and his neighbor too much to indulge in shady tactics. At every turn, his house - built on the rock - will be a stable and sufficient shelter from trouble. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed are they that keep Judgement, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Psalms 106.3

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