04 Nov #041 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Righteousness—More than “Good”
ESSENCE: Faithfully “doing right” is much more than “doing good” or being ethical. The key to understanding faithfully “doing right” is recognizing that “doing right” needs an object–by whom are we to “do right”. We believe a faith-driven leader is called to “do right” by God, and that means living generously by loving others and stewarding creation.
The goal of faith-driven leaders should be for their organizations to faithfully “do right” (or what we sometimes call “faithful integrity”), and we believe faithfully “doing right” is much more than “doing good”. In the last post, we began exploring faithfully “doing right” by considering what “doing good” means in business. But what do we mean by faithfully “doing right”? Get ready for some scary (and possibly offensive) Biblical words!
Faithfully “Doing Right” in an Organization Is More than “Doing Good”
In his book My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes “The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness.” Here are the two scary Biblical concepts that clearly suggest faith-driven leaders are called to more than “do good”: righteousness and perfection.
- Be perfect, just as your father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
These are scary concepts because they seem unattainable. (They are also possibly offensive because they conjure up images of hypocritical, Pharisaical religious types wagging a finger and saying that we do not measure up.) We really believe (and we even say it on the home page of the Integrous website) that faith-driven leaders want their organization to faithfully “do right”, whether or not they think in terms of “righteousness” or “perfection”. These words are scary because, on their face, they do not reflect what they really mean (and we begin to imagine the wagging finger). At Integrous, we are not Biblical scholars or theologians, so we greatly appreciate the scholars and theologians who clarify scary Biblical words. Here are a few:
- Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest says Matthew 5:48 calls us “to be GENEROUS in our behavior toward everyone.“
- Eugene Peterson in the Message translated Matthew 5:48 as: ”You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. LIVE GENEROUSLY and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you”.
- Thomas Keating wrote “Perfection does not consist in feeling perfect or being perfect, but in doing what we are supposed to be doing without noticing it: LOVING PEOPLE without taking any credit. Just doing it.”
- Jonathan Pennington says “To say that we must be teleios [perfect] as God is to say that we must be WHOLE. We must be singular in who we are, not one thing on the outside but another on the inside.”
- Tim Keller (quoting Bible scholar Bruce Waltke) says “The very definition of righteous people is that they disadvantage themselves to advantage others.“
- John Dear concludes “Righteousness . . . sums up the global responsibility of the human community to make sure every human being has what they need, that everyone pursues a fair sense of justice for every other human being, and that everyone lives in right relationship with one another, creation, and God.“
- N.T. Wright has written that Righteousness “denotes not so much the abstract idea of justice or virtue, as right standing and consequent right behavior, within a community.”
We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. (Albus Dumbledore in ``Goblet of Fire``)
Those are a lot of scholarly words, but we think they boil down to a few that are not so scary–we are called to live out our God-given purpose by living generously through loving others and stewarding creation.
James Hunter talks about creating Shalom where God has placed us and for the benefit of all. In his book To Change the World, Hunter suggests a theology in which we are called:
To enact the shalom of God in the circumstances in which God has placed them and to actively seek it on behalf of others. . . . What this means is that where and to the extent that we are able, faithful presence commits us to do what we can to create conditions in the structures of social life we inhabit that are conducive to the flourishing of all.
That is much more than “doing good” or being ethical. The key to understanding faithfully “doing right” is recognizing that “doing right” needs an object–by whom are we to “do right”. A business can “do right” by its owners, its employees, its customers, its vendors, its suppliers or its community. However, there must be one ultimate “object” that wins in the case of a conflict (and “business as usual” says it is the owners).
We believe a faith-driven leader is called to faithfully “do right” by God, and that means living generously by loving others and stewarding creation–as the driving purpose and not just a socially conscious add-on to Profit as Purpose. It is acting to maximize flourishing (rather than profit). It’s not easy, but it is not the wagging finger of the seemingly unattainable, “rule-following” burden suggested by “perfection” and “righteousness”.
As Albus Dumbledore said in the Harry Potter series (Goblet of Fire, to be precise): “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Integriosity® is about choosing to lead an organization to faithfully “do right” and then doing it. We actually believe it is a desire planted by God in everyone’s heart.
SPOILER ALERT: Choosing to lead an organization to “do right by God” is not easy–it is “business a better way”. Integriosity is a four-step path to that goal–RENEW, RE-IMAGINE, RE-ALIGN and RESTORE. Actually “doing it” is RE-ALIGN, and a key ingredient is to TRUST the promise of Matthew 6:33.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): I was first introduced to the concept of Shalom in James Hunter’s book To Change the World. Hunter introduces the concept of Faithful Presence, which is living out the commandment to love our neighbor by creating Shalom where God has placed us. We love because God first loved us–even in businesses and other organizations. It changed how I viewed the world. It was a key mile-marker on the road to Integriosity.