The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness. ~Proverbs 16:11
If you’re an attentive reader as you go through each proverb in the Bible, you’ll notice some repetition. And you’ll come across a proverb about accurate or honest scales quite a few times (see, also: 11:1, 20:10, 20:23).
These verses show us that God desires his people to act ethically in everything they do. For the Christian, there is no sacred/secular divide. This doesn’t mean that we have to treat every event like a church service or try to smack people over the head with our Bibles, but this does mean we are to be lights shining in the darkness.
Our ethic should be to stand against injustice wherever we see it. This includes how we act and treat others at our jobs. It’s easy to say so what if we skim a little, everyone does it or yeah, I know we’re ripping them off, but that’s just how the business works. Yet such attitudes are an affront to God.
God defines justice. His justice demands that we don’t try to rob, cheat, or steal; that we don’t use other people to our own advantage; and that we don’t look down on certain people because they have less (or even because they have more). God’s justice says, “I will buy, trade, sell, and do business in a way that honors God.”
The pressure of the marketplace can be strong against this. It can dissuade us to do what is right and fair, instead opting for what will make the largest profit, regardless if it is right or ethical. Yet we are to resist. There is nothing wrong in profit seeking, but there is much wrong in doing it at the cost of justice.
This is why Jesus calls us to move against the grain. The first shall be last and the last shall be first, he said. A Christ-centered ethic puts the good of others above the good of self—however that looks in your life with “accurate scales and balances.”
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.