Part of the Game

From Issue: Discovery 5/1/2009

Once, a man was interviewing for jobs at several major corporations. Three of the corporations had accepted him, so all that was left to do was negotiate his pay. In order to get the best offer, he lied to each company about how much money the other companies had offered him. The man is a religious person, and when a friend of his asked why he lied, he said, “It’s not lying. It’s just part of the game.”

Most people admit that lying and stealing are wrong. When we hear about someone stealing a car, or lying to their teacher, it seems so plain that their actions are wrong. Sometimes, however, situations are not so plain. What we know to be wrong when we are dealing with individual people might seem less wrong when dealing with a large corporation or the government. Big groups like these seem far away and less personal; we can’t see their faces, so stealing from them doesn’t bother our consciences as much as if we had stolen something from our next-door neighbor. Sometimes it is easy to lie to big companies or cheat the government out of tax money, at least in our minds, but we must remember that it is just as wrong to cheat and lie to a big company as it is to lie to or cheat one of our friends. Some people justify dishonesty by saying that the government and big businesses have plenty of money anyway, so they don’t need anymore. However, simply because a person or corporation is wealthy, and we are not, does not give us the right to act unethically.

One way to fight the temptation to lie or steal is to remember the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). If we treat big businesses and the government fairly, which is how we want them to treat us, then God will be pleased. The enormous size or wealth of an organization does not change the rules. The world of business may be called a game by some, but it is a game in which God’s rules still apply!


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