Do values matter?
'Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? The person who … speaks truth from their heart …' Psalm 15:1-2
Truth may be the first casualty of war but in the contemporary workplace its life expectancy is not much longer.
Ethical pressure is, according to our Imagine research, the second most pressing issue facing Christians in the workplace. Number one is, not surprisingly, that shalom-buster – work-life imbalance.
Ethical pressure takes many forms but perhaps its most common is the pressure to lie, or to not quite tell the Public Enemy Number 2 truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: the numbers presented in a rather creative fashion, the traffic jam that wasn’t, the subordinate’s excellent presentation you didn’t have quite as much to do with as you intimated to your boss.
No one is immune.
But truth matters hugely to the God who is truth. Truth is precious, holy, something to be cherished, guarded, suffered for.
Hence its centrality in Psalm 15. Who is the person who can sit at ease in God’s presence? Yes, the person who does the right things but also the holy champions who speak truth from the heart, from their deepest nooks of knowing; people who don’t slander other people’s characters or slime their performance.
Of course, you will sometimes fail.
Take my friend Adam who used to be in sales. On the train home he’d mull over the twists and the turns of the day with God. He’d have good days and bad days. It was a struggle. Holiness is. Then, soon after a promotion, Adam found himself in a meeting with a new client who reacted sceptically to a claim he’d made. One of Adam’s team immediately interrupted: 'Don’t worry, you can trust Adam.'
What did Adam’s team see? A man whose lips were never besmirched by the shadow of an untruth? No.
They saw a man to whom the truth mattered and who clearly tried to say it right and true. The Holy Spirit had been working in Adam, showing him where he was failing, not to paralyse him with guilt, but to help him grow in truthfulness, and bring him closer to God.
Grace not only forgives, grace also seeks to liberate and to strengthen. Grace helps us stand true in a spinning world and sit at ease in God’s presence.
May it be so for you – at your desk, at your machine, and on the train home.
From LICC London Institute of Contemporary Christianity