Faith and Integration
The review of Luke 6: 27-31 presents challenging directives for us personally and in business. Global business has unique landscapes and challenges. There may be a temptation to apply different standards to our personal lives than those of our professional lives. How we conduct ourselves in business whether domestically or broad, the messaging Jesus provides is the same. The literal truth is that applying Jesus’ words in these environments is not only commanded, but not possible. These literal instructions would result in bankruptcy in the quickest manner. We cannot hope to live our lives perfectly with only concerns of others before ourselves. We will fall short.
We can follow Jesus’ words if we keep in mind that quite often in teaching, the use of hyperbole is used and quite effective. One only need recall the trials of Jonah and great fish as a possible example of hyperbole in the Bible (Jonah 1:17). Jesus says to love our enemies and treat them well even though they may hate us. By conducting a business with the intention of making others better off than they were without your services and at the same time allowing for a profit to continue these types of beneficial transactions, we can follow verse 27. Blessing those that curse us and praying for them can be done by providing countenance and understanding if someone is slighted. Make the effort to make them whole if they have encountered a negative result through engagement with your business and help them continue in a positive manner. Often this is by empathy and sincerely guiding and communicating with customers. For those that cause physical or reputational harm to your business, allow their anger, try to understand the causative nature of what has happened. Initial anger and retribution are often a visceral reaction that is regretted after a calm conversation. If there was an incidence of harm to the customer, do not be afraid to not only make them whole, but with sincerest apologies, offer them more to encourage them to become a repeat customer. Some of the best and loyal customers are achieved in this manner. During your business career, you will be asked for donations to help others. Sometimes these are facades for fraud, but there are many people in genuine need. Donate to the causes that not only will help others but reinforce the ideals of the business that customers can see. You will not make everyone happy, and you cannot give until you have nothing, hence the reliance on hyperbole. The final verse in Luke, when Jesus tells us to treat others as we would like to be treated is the catch all. A successful business never hides behind a policy, or a management decision. The lowest person in the organization can be sympathetic and empathetic and try to help a customer, whether that be knowledge or remediation. The truest sense of this last verse does not require a revisionist approach, treat others as you would like to be treated in their stead.
King James Bible. (2017). King James Bible Online https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/ (Original work published 1769)