“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.”
- 1 Peter 3:15-17
There is a reason that most businesses, even ones not based on Christian ideals, have core values as a part of their company culture. Values help provide an anchor for employees to latch onto as they interact with people inside and outside the company. They also serve to set the expectations of your clients, giving them a clear understanding of how you intend to treat them. While the specificity of these core values can vary from one company to another, the purpose is always to be that anchor, helping the entire team to hold fast to the ideals you find most vital.
However, as Christians, there is an even greater calling to not only follow the core values you set in place but also to be sure that the values you’ve chosen represent the attributes Christ would find important. These are attributes with a high focus on caring well for and loving others. It’s much more than slapping some nice-sounding words on the walls of your office; it’s building a standard that makes one thing clear to your employees: this is a place where you will be supported. So what attributes should you incorporate into your core values that will make the support you offer abundantly clear?
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
-1 Corinthians 13:1-3
While these are often the verses you’ll hear during a wedding ceremony, their meaning goes far beyond the love in a romantic relationship. These verses speak to the meaninglessness of acts done absent of love. Everything that Jesus has ever done is an act of the greatest love. This fact alone makes the expectation clear. Anytime we interact with our coworkers, we are called to do so out of love. This means that if your desire truly is to build a place where people feel supported and cared for, the core values that you expect your team to embody must be primarily based on love for one another.
“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
-1 Peter 2:17
Here Peter is speaking about the importance of honoring and respecting those around us. Notice that the emperor is included at the end of this. Now obviously, we aren’t dealing with an emperor in our current context. However, the sentiment remains the same. The early church clearly had some major disagreements with the emperor on what they believed, but there was still a necessary respect that God calls us all to have for those who walk beside us and those who lead above us. The only way that employees in our company will feel supported is if they feel respected by those offering a helping hand.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
Integrity matters, especially in the workplace. Companies worldwide are filled with people who lie and deceive to get a quick buck. While they may lead to wealth and riches for that person, as believers, we know that there is much more to life. If Christ called us to be faithful to him, and David in the Psalms speaks to the importance of walking with integrity, then surely we ought to act with truth and honesty in everything we do. Few things will make a struggling coworker open up more than knowing they can trust you fully.
If you can embrace core values based on these three attributes, then you are off to building a steady anchor that you and your team can hold fast to when times get difficult. Your employees will know their leaders and coworkers have their back and are willing to speak the truth in love out of respect for them as an image-bearer of God. Imagine if that was the type of workplace you got to walk into every day!
These types of core values, ones based on love, respect, and integrity, are values that every Christ follower should try to implement in their workplace. There is no better way to share the love of Christ in your workplace than to live in a way that exudes the beauty of the gospel. So maybe today, the first thing you need to do is sit down and re-evaluate if your core values are based on these attributes. If you aren’t the person who makes those decisions, then start taking steps to build your own personal core values that you live out daily.
People desperately want to feel cared for and supported. Your company could be where they truly experience the love of Christ for the first time.
“Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it when it is in your power to do so.”
“Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”