倫理或人-我們的家

By:J. Sergio Fortes

倫理問題是現今職場和專業領域經常會遇到的挑戰。ethics這個字源自希臘,字根是ethos,字面上的意思是我們居住的地方和人。從希臘人的角度來看 ethics 或是 ethos 意思就是我們的家,或者像我的朋友說的:「我們是誰。」

五十歲以上的人大概都有這樣的經歷,當我們年輕時和父母談到嚴肅的話題時,他們會強調說:「這件事在我的家是不被允許的。」他們積極地建立家庭的倫理:在家裡什麼事情該做,什麼事不該做。

「我們所在的地方」可能是我們結婚之後所住的地方、參與的社群、所在的社會、居住的城市和鄰近地區、我們崇拜的地方、我們上班營生的地方或是組織。

睿智的巴西哲學家和教育家 Dr. Mario Sergio Cortella 為 ethics 下了一個精準高明的註解,他說:「倫理是一套用來回答人類生活三個主要問題的準則或是價值觀。這三個問題分別是:我想要什麼?我應該做什麼?我能做什麼? 」

Cortella 繼續說:有些事是我們想要做的,但我們卻不應該做。有些事卻是我們想要做也應該做,但我們卻做不到的。這樣的矛盾充斥在我們的日常生活中,侵蝕了我們在職場和專業領域和生意夥伴的親密關係,彼此都有隱藏了秘密的動機。

問題在於,我們如何去回應這樣的課題:想要一些不應該要的東西,沒有能力或是不想去做我們應該要做的事。我的經驗告訴我要解決這樣的難題,最好就是去看聖經-人類的使用手冊。在解答令人困惑的倫理掙扎上,我們可以先問問,聖經會怎麼回答這樣的問題。

使徒保羅說,我們之所以做想要做的事情,而不是那些在內心深處知道應該做的事情,最主要的原因是被聖經所說的「罪」所掌控。」「若我去做所不願意做的,就不是我做的,乃是住在我裡頭的罪做的。」(羅馬書7章20節)

我所知道罪的概念就是:箭射不中靶心。換句話說,我們知道應該做,但是事實上我們再怎麼努力但還是做不到,就像是箭射不中靶心一樣。

有一個神聖的解決方法,是神解決罪的方法,就叫做「饒恕」。有些人說,如果我們說自己已從罪中得自由,那麼我們就是在自己騙自己。然而聖經告訴我們那是錯的。如果我們認罪悔改,神很快會回應我們並恢復我們與祂同在的關係。「我們若說自己無罪,便是自欺,真理不在我們心里了﹔我們若認自己的罪,上帝是信實的,是公義的,必要赦免我們的罪,洗淨我們一切的不義」(約翰一書1章8-9節)

遵守倫理,就是保護我們所住的地方或家,比去跟從一些規條價值來的實在。我們也知道自己的努力和意志力會失敗。因此我們需要耶穌在我們身上做內在的改變。

J. Sergio Fortes是一個管理策略的顧問,專長在於整合領導的能力。他也是CBMC巴西資深的會員。

省思 / 討論題目
你如何定義或是形容你所了解的「倫理」? 你覺得ethics在希臘字的原意為「我們所在的地方」是否貼切?當你在職場上遇到關乎倫理的難題時,你覺得它會影響我們所在的地方? 在你的想法裡,哪一些是阻撓人去做該做的事情,反倒去做不該做的事情的原因? 這篇文章的作者認為驅使人不做該做的事,反而做那些不該做的事情,是因為罪的緣故。你同意嗎?解釋你的理由。若你想看或討論聖經對此主題的其他部份,請看以下經文:箴言4章23節;傳道書12章14節;馬太福音 5章37節、7章12節;馬可福音 12章17節;腓立比書 4章5節

ETHICS OR “ETHOS” – OUR HOME
By J. Sergio Fortes

Ethics presents one of the contemporary challenges facing people in the business and professional world. With its origins in ancient Greece, under the name of ethos, ethics literally means "our place while human" and "the place where we live." That is to say, from a Greek perspective, ethos (or ethics) can be viewed as "our home." Or as my friend, Samy Staschower, prefers to say: "What we are.”

Those of us who have reached the age of 50 or beyond now can better understand the serious conversations we had with our parents when they would state emphatically, "Here in this home, this shall not be done." They were busy establishing for us what our family ethics should be – what type of behavior was acceptable and unacceptable in our homes.

"Our place" as humans encompasses marriage to our spouse, the residence where we live, the social group in which we participate, the society in which we live, the city and neighborhood where we reside, the place where we worship, and the company or organization where we earn our livelihood.

The brilliant Brazilian philosopher and educator, Dr. Mario Sergio Cortella, offers a concise, masterful conceptualization of ethics. He says, "It is the set of principles and values that we use to answer three major questions of human life: What do I want? What should I do? What can I do?"

Cortella continues, noting, "There are things we want, but we should not. There are things that we should want or do, but we cannot. There are things we can, but we do not want to." Such dilemmas permeate our everyday lives, invading the intimacy of our business relationships and holding the secret motivations underlying our professional actions.

The question is, how are we to react to these issues – wanting things we should not, not being able to do things we should do, and not wanting to do things we know we should? Experience has taught me the best source for answering these questions is to consult the book more than one person has called the "manufacturer’s manual" – the Holy Bible. In wrestling with often difficult, sometimes confusing ethical matters, it helps to ask, “What does the Bible have to say about this?”

When we do what we want, according to the Apostle Paul, rather than doing something that down deep we know to be the right thing to do, it is usually because of being dominated by an inner force that the Bible calls "sin": “Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is not myself that acts, but the sin which dwells within me fixed and operating in my soul” (Romans 7:20).

One of the concepts of sin I learned – I cannot remember from whom – is that "sin is hitting the wrong target." In other words, we know what we should do, but despite our best efforts in trying to accomplish it, we miss the correct target.

The divine antidote, God”s remedy for sin, is called forgiveness. There are those that contend, "If we say that we are free from sin, we are only fooling ourselves.” However, according to the Bible, that statement is incorrect. If we admit our sins and confess, God promises to be quick to respond and restore us to right standing with Him: “He is faithful and true to His own nature and promises and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

To do ethics – to protect “our place” or our “home” – is more than having the intention to follow a primer of good practices, values and fundamental principles. We know it also goes beyond the simple desire and effort of our will, because our will – our self-determination – often fails. It requires change from the inside. And that kind of change only Jesus can accomplish in us.

J. Sergio Fortes is a consultant in strategic management and specialist in corporate leadership, and a longtime member of CBMC Brazil.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
How would you define or describe your understanding of what ethics is, in a practical sense? What did you think of the original concept of ethics, taken from the ancient Greek term that means, "the place where we live”? When you are faced with an ethical decision at work, do you see it as affecting “the place where you live”? In your opinion, what are the factors that lead a person to stop doing what they know is right and choose instead to act according to what they recognize as the opposite – the wrong thing to do? The writer of this “Monday Manna” suggests the force (or influence) that drives people to do what they really do not want to do, as well as not to do the things they really want to do, is what the Bible calls “sin.” Do you agree? Why or why not?If you would like to look at or discuss other Bible passages related to the theme, here are some you might want to consider: Proverbs 4:23; Ecclesiastes 12:14; Mathew 5:37; 7:12; Mark 12:17; Philippians 4:5

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