Proverbs at Work: Do What is Right, Just & Fair
“For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” (Proverbs 1:2-5)
You may be surprised at how many decisions you make in a day!
Some sources estimate that number to be over 35,000! Eva Krockow, a decision-making specialist at the University of Leicester, is not sure where this estimate came from but does agree we make an enormous number of decisions daily. In fact, roughly 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two seconds. (Link to read more about this study here. )
We hardly think of some decisions, but there are certainly many decisions that will significantly impact people, our work, and ourselves. How can we be confident we are making the right decisions?
Proverbs 1:2-5 gives direction on what to consider. God advises us to do what is right and just, and fair. These words seem similar, but there are some differences.
RIGHT: When we think of the word “right,” we think of what is morally correct, good, or acceptable.
FAIR: When we think of the word “fair,” we think of being impartial and just,
JUST: When we think of the word “just,” we think of behaving in a morally right and fair way.
To apply these principles to our workplace, we need to go to the source of wisdom and not rely on how we feel at the time or what the world says.
God has advised us to listen and add to our learning, which applies to doing what is right, fair, and just. This is very similar to what the Lord says in Micah 6:8 -
“What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your Lord.”
This past week, I needed to decide whether to continue with a company providing services to us. We have had a long-standing relationship and requested their services for another part of our business. It is expensive, and we feel they need to do the job better. There have been many changes in their staffing, and we do not think they understand our culture. However, as they still provide some services to us, we want to maintain our professional relationships.
When considering what is right, just, and fair, we reflected on the following:
RIGHT: This was not so much a moral decision, but rather a decision on the best way to go forward for our business. However, what was necessary (and right) was to communicate in a respectful, acceptable, and right way as well as to be honest with them regarding our concerns.
FAIR: They have done great work in other areas, so we would like to continue working with them. We were fair in that we did not stop our relationship with them, but instead we stopped a particular service. However, in fairness to them, and based on our information, we will ask them to give us an update on our progress as we take this function over ourselves in-house.
JUST: We expressed our concerns about their work and gave suggestions on how our culture would be better represented. They did try, but still did not reflect it. We spoke to the people directly involved and as a result, we felt that parting ways with this area of service was the right thing to do.
However, to do what is right, fair, and just, God tells us to take some steps first - to listen and add to our learning.
My husband, who is also my business manager, provided wise advice. Before making this decision, we needed to discuss it with one of our staff and listen to what they had to say regarding taking over this work. We needed to avoid jumping into a significant decision before exploring other options.
Listening and learning, then applying the concepts of being right, fair, and just provided me with an organized way of making this important decision. I feel at peace with it, and how other people were treated.
Is there a major decision you need to make this week? If so, please consider the principles in Proverbs 1 of listening, learning and then reviewing the decision based on whether it is right, just, and fair. In this way, you will be taking Proverbs 1 to work as you apply it in action.
Bringing This to God in Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which gives wisdom and direction. As I go through my workday and personal life this week, please give me a willing spirit to listen well and take time to learn whatever I need to before making a right, fair, and just decision. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Have a wonderful week!
Bonny, Christian Women at Work