“Oppression and fraud do not depart from its marketplace.” - Psalm 55:12
Business ethics. It is not an oxymoron, although it may appear as though “corporate” and “corruption” go hand in hand. As Paul warned his young apprentice Timothy, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10)." Fraud and oppression may be the way that the wicked get ahead in the marketplace, but it has no place in the business of a believer. The way in which we conduct our business should mirror our calling to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel (see Philippians 1:27 & Ephesians 4:1). When Jesus spoke to His disciples about being salt and light, He certainly did not place an exception for our business practices.
In fact, the Bible has much to say about oppression and fraud in the marketplace. In nearly every era of the people of God, from Moses (Leviticus 19:35-36), to Ezekiel (45:10), to Solomon (Proverbs 11:1, 16:11, 20:10), Jeremiah (5:1), Hosea (12:6-7), Amos (8:4-8), and Micah (6:10-13), God continually addresses shady business practices and oppressive policies as an unjust and unrighteous way of the wicked. All of this should lead us to a place in which we our burdened over the broken behaviors that have become commonplace in the marketplace.
As Christians, we ought to stand against unjust policies and practices that take advantage of the poor and steal from the powerless. If it is in our power to direct our funds and resources into those companies and businesses which choose virtue over profit margins, we should willingly make that sacrifice. However, there are times when the suffering seems so beyond the scope of our impact that we can only cast our burdens upon the Lord. We must remember, that vengeance belongs to the Lord, and that He is both just and holy. As David reminds us at the conclusion of Psalm 55, “men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days (23)." Rather than keeping up with the lifestyles of our wicked neighbors and business competitors, we are instead encourage to “...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business...(1 Thessalonians 5:11)." Quit playing “King of the Hill” in your business and career. You will only lose your soul (Mark 8:36) and come to discover that the hill you are standing on is nothing more than a steaming pile of dung compared to the value of knowing Christ (see Philippians 3:8). Consider making this your prayer for your business -
“Lord, make my ambitions pure, my scales just, my thoughts honorable, my words gracious, my accounts settled, my books balanced and my joy contagious as I seek to know Christ and make Him known in my mission field of the marketplace.”