Let’s play with this idea for a few moments, and see what kind of ideas we get for further research, and discussion.
Altruism is the belief that loving our neighbor is the ultimate ethical standard. When faced with a decision a follower of altruism will make a decision that benefits others.
Characteristics of altruism include:
Concern for others
In his book, Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership, Craig Johnson, points out that
“Western thought has been greatly influenced by the altruistic emphasis of Judaism and Christianity.” Craig Johnson
He also highlights the altruistic care that workers like hospice volunteers provide.
In essence this demonstrates that altruism is an ethical approach that can be chosen. A person can understand this view and decide to follow it. Their religion or faith could drive this approach, or it can be chosen as an ethical standard.
Choosing an altruistic approach is applaudable in the workplace. Seeking to adopt a faith like standard will go a long way to ensuring we are others centered and not self centered. Yet, we must recognize the roots of this approach, and make some notes.
Galatians 5:22, in God’s inspired Word, outlines what the fruit of a relationship with Jesus Christ entails.
The fruit of the Spirit includes these things. The Spirit equips and gives us the power to adorn our lives with these characteristics.
Life apart from Christ, and absent from the Spirit, will produce:
Outbursts of Anger
In the summer of 1980 something I felt something. Something that said go forward at church. Later I did. I don’t know what I felt that night. Perhaps a curiosity, a desire to be better or do what others were doing. I did not have an encounter with Jesus Christ.
Do you know how I know? Because my life displayed all the characteristics of being apart from Christ, like listed above.
I knew what was right. I had heard it my entire life. I sat through enough church services to understand that it was wrong to lie, get drunk, wake up in a stranger’s bed, and another stranger’s bed, do drugs, cheat, get angry, and on and on.
It’s not enough to know, and knowing doesn’t give us the power we need to really live an altruistic life. Sure I can go to work, and have a concern for others, but that doesn’t mean my entire life has changed, and that I am living a life with the Spirit.
Sometime around 1997, my third child was born, and I had my life changing experience. I no longer decided what was right or wrong, I began to live it. I had the power, the Spirit, to change, the desire to change, and the understanding of how to change.
I suppose in the work place all we can hope for is that people will choose an ethical approach that works for them, that will benefit people, and help the organization accomplish it’s goals, but’s let’s always remember that it takes the power of the Holy Spirit to live a truly moral life. Without Him we are just going through the motions.
In the end…living for Christ will be all that matters. May we remember who we really serve, and may we understand that apart from Christ we are powerless to love others as He does.
Johnson, Craig E. (2015) Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.