What Does Morality Have 
To Do With It?


A former accounting student called a National Public Radio station to tell of an experience he had in college. His business professor was lecturing on methods for maximizing profit. One student objected to his methods, “That’s immoral!” 

The professor responded, “What does morality have to do with business?”

The scandals that have been plaguing business this year (2002) are the direct result of attempting to separate moral principles from business practices. Teachers, like this professor, who promote the concept that morality is irrelevant are breaking down the foundation and the connecting framework that holds a society together.

Teachers have an important role in society. They pass on the collected knowledge and experience of humanity. They can either inspire their students to desire to build a society that looks out after the interests of all of its members; or, they can appeal to the baser lust of human nature to take as much as they can for themselves with no thought for the suffering inflicted on others as a result of their greed.

Since Bible morality has been banned from public classrooms, it becomes all the more urgent that Christian teachers pass on the great moral teaching revealed in Scripture. Moral instruction must be accompanied by moral practice. Children and young adults have a keen instinct for hypocrisy. They imitate what we do, not what we say.

Ancient Israel was given a model for instructing their children. Instruction was not confined to the classroom. Lessons were to be taught through living life with them; through discussing the events of each day; and involving them so that the instruction became a part of their character.

“Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:3-9

We can apply this today by discussing news reports-what happened and why. We can encourage our children to look for cause and effect. We can compare God’s instruction from the Bible and show its relevancy to events that everyone is talking about.

The British royal family is suffering today because of  adultery and unfaithfulness. The public discussion in the media gives parents an opportunity to teach the value of faithfulness in marriage.

Even personal family situations teach lessons. My son saw his grandmother died of smoking related illness. He saw the cause and effect. His conclusion: smoking kills and he decided never to smoke.

The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-21) are not just civil statutes that can be repealed when they become inconvenient or unpopular. They are basic moral principles that show us how to relate to God, family, and society. Individuals, families, and communities who practice these principles in letter and in spirit will reap the rewards of trust and peace with one another as well as with God.

The book of Proverbs teaches the relevancy of morality to all aspects of life. A business that lies, cheats , and steals will be found out and the trust essential to business relationships will be destroyed and the business with it. (Proverbs 28:10. 18-20) Marriage partners who cheat on one another damage not only their marriage but also their own inner selves.

The teacher who presents facts without presenting the corresponding moral responsibility is setting his or her students up for failure in the things that count in this life and the next. (Proverbs 2:18-22; 3:1-18) Children and teenagers need more than mere stories or dry facts. They need moral knowledge that will help them make the tough choices they will face as adults. They need to know that God exists and will reward them for good works. They need to know not only God’s great mercy; they need to know his justice. Without justice, mercy is just anarchy.

Teachers, as Paul instructed Timothy: “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity….devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching….Watch your life and doctrine [teaching] closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (I Timothy 4:11-16)

By Scarlett Stough
November 2002