Friday, June 13, 2014

My Boss Made Me Do It: Ethics in the Workplace

On May 12, 2014, Paskwa Mutunga, Innovation Manager at World Vision Canada, spoke to young adults from parishes of the Western region at Theology on Tap West about ethics in the workplace.

She began her talk by quoting Winston Churchill, “Never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.” These strong words from Churchill come with a real challenge, especially in the workplace, and Mutunga acknowledged this reality by offering a verse from scripture as a guideline for how to go about staying true to moral and religious beliefs: “Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). She advised that we keep these as the compass of our moral decisions. She went on to identify three things that lead us to compromise our beliefs in all circumstances: 1) uncertainty, 2) the price we would have to pay, and 3) fear.

First, uncertainty: just as the serpent entered the Garden and took advantage of Eve’s uncertainty, when we are unsure of what our faith teaches on particular issues, we leave ourselves susceptible to compromising our beliefs. We must be “rooted and built up in Jesus, firm in the faith” (Colossians 2:7) to have the courage to stand up for it and cast doubt away. As Mutunga explained, it isn’t enough to have faith, we must also act based on our beliefs.

Paskwa Mutunga
Next, the price: One of the greatest challenges of following our faith is recognizing that there may be a hard consequence. “Living like a true Catholic in today’s culture will cost you everything. If you want to live for heaven, you must be willing to die to many earthly things” (Mark Hart). Drawing from scripture again, Mutunga reminded us of Joseph who, after being sold by his brothers, was jailed when he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39). She emphasized the importance of maintaining hope in the Lord whose heavenly rewards are worth the earthly consequences.

Finally, fear: It is one thing to recognize the potential consequences of acting based on our beliefs, but it is quite another to actually face them. It is in these situations that Mutunga encouraged us to remember Jesus’ gift of love for “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). Reflecting on the suffering He endured out of love for us, can give us the courage to stand up for Him.

It is love that inspires the faith and hope which give us the strength to stand up for our beliefs. Mutunga ended her talk by reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and reiterating that if we are to never give in as Churchill directs us, love must be the central foundation of our decisions and actions.

- Alycia J. Rodrigues