There’s no denying it – and it’s not just because you’re old or out of date, but your Christian values are placing you further and further away from the culture around you as time passes. Perhaps more accurately the culture is moving further away from Christian values. The approach to honesty – whether it be stealing or lying grows ever more a-Christian. Sexuality and office sexual politics mean that affairs proliferate – before, during and after office hours or Christmas parties. In the context of petty thieving, right through to corporate governance fraud, it’s harder to progress if you stay true to your Christian values – for it’s not just individual behaviour but the whole system which seems to be polluted.
Some of the pressures to compromise are down to human deviousness, but there are also market forces at work. Under-quotingto get the contract – knowing that supplementary cost will be incurred, going for a job interview to find out what a competitor is up to, over-valuing assets and under-reporting debts or merely telling a caller that the boss is not there. These are a few of our favourite things to get the job done.
How is it possible to communicate a sincerely held Christian faith without becoming an irritant, perceived bigot or corporate saboteur, or having to play such a straight bat that no runs are scored at all? How can you be honest yet at least stay in the game?
When you pray ‘Father’ you affirm that your value system is not merely a set of rules or regulations. It is not that you want to play by the book. Christian values are a description of a relationship. You don’t dine with the devil because that would be unfaithful to God. We’re motivated not by self-righteous indignation nor prudish Puritanism but a genuine desire to maintain an open relationship with the God who loves us. He too is not about paralysing rules but liberating relationships. Your principles may be clear but communicating them will be greatly transformed if you can project the spirit of relationship behind your behaviour rather than legalism. Far from spoiling the party, you want to enjoy it, but based on the Father’s will rather than some stagnant system. It may not be popular but at least it is good news. Slice a piece of fatted calf and talk business with your colleagues. Your Father has a different kind of party in mind.
25Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: 2″Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began
Luke 11: 1-4
1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread.
4Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation
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