What are the boundaries and acceptable behaviours we should have as a Christian man in the workplace? How many of us, when we look over our week, have inconsistent behaviours depending on our environment? A Sunday church behaviour, a Monday to Friday work behaviour, a home and family behaviour?
Integrity is all about our character; it is about our core values which ultimately shape our life. So integrity is about having a consistency of character that matches our words, actions, choices, values and behaviours. All aspects of our life are fully integrated, not divided into parts. Integrity is about truth and honesty; let our yes mean yes and our no mean no.
In Matthew 22:16, scripture refers to Jesus as a man of integrity. “‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others...’” We need to be the same! We determine our behaviour. No one else is responsible. Peer pressure and environment do place challenges on us, but as a Christian man we need to set our own standards in all areas of our life.
Our work environment
I have based my work integrity on two areas of the Bible that you may also find valuable.
- In the book of Genesis, God worked for seven days. His work was good, and on the last day, very good. In Genesis 2:15 “he took the man and put him in the garden to work it and take care of it”. Work is God-originated and God-ordained.
However, after the fall, God removed the man from the garden. “So the Lord God banished him from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken”. (Genesis 3:23.) Man was now in the open world. Weeds and thorns were growing. Work became very hard for him. This is a reflection of the world we live in today. The weeds and thorns represent many aspects of life’s struggles that we all have. Many rebel against this hard work. It is inherent in our fallen nature. We strive to get as much as we can for ourselves by whatever means. Many believe it is their right to have things, even without working for it.
- Jesus worked as a boy in the home, then as a carpenter. Later His ministry became His work. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23.) This verse has helped me personally in various work situations. Many businesses build their own social and ethical standards, but it is the Lord whom we are measuring our behaviour against, not that of man or business. Of course, it is very valuable for us if the workplace we are employed in has very good moral and ethical behaviours embedded in an environment of integrity.
Practical keys to protect your integrity
Never do anything that will embarrass you if brought out into the open. The consequences of inconsistent behaviour are sometimes very unforgiving: trust is lost, jobs are lost, friends are lost, self-worth and esteem can be lost. You never want to have to cover up or feel guilty about an area of your life that is not ethical. It is not worth it.
Whatever you do, do not get yourself in a position where you have to be warned about a poor behaviour or action you have taken. It destroys people’s trust in you and maybe your work career. If you have an issue, pray about it, commit it to the Lord and deal with it with men you can trust. The opposite applies - businesses are looking for people and leaders with integrity. Opportunities will come.
Pray about these things. Look at your own workplace; your behaviours (include all areas of your life). Write out a plan of what you will do, and not do, to maintain consistent integrity.
Paul Klenner lives in New Plymouth and has worked in high level Management and Project Management in the petrochemical industry, he was in that role when he wrote this. He is now retired from the industry but is working with men with cancer having survived it himself. He is a community chaplain, facilitator for Look Good Feel Better for men and delivers a course he wrote for people with cancer called Renew Your New Normal. He is a long-time supporter of PK. He is an accomplished speaker and is available to speak should you have a need, please contact the PK office.