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Sep 18

Don’t Be Evil

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

Many people are aware of the Google motto, “Don’t be evil.” This raises the question, what is evil? In scripture we read several times that, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (Judges 21:25, NIT) The situation in Israel was grim. The people were attacked and oppressed on all sides.


We see extreme evil from many historical figures including some Roman emperors, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Mao and many others. Whether we are leading a nation, business or deciding to rob a bank down the street; whenever we make our own decisions about what is evil or not evil we tend to cause serious damage.

When I see the motto from Google, “Don’t be evil,” I want to know on what basis does someone make a decision about what is evil or not? People in some parts of the world determine that Christians are evil. They torture them, enslave them, persecute them, and murder them. While we see this as a terrible evil, those perpetrating these acts believe they’re doing a good thing.

As Christians in business we should never participate in evil. We should be lights of holiness and godliness in the marketplace. The reality is that unless we read, embrace and obediently follow scriptural principles outlined for daily life and business we cannot possibly avoid doing evil by our own strength. Only by following the standards identified in the Bible do we have a guide for being godly and holy instead of evil.

For me and professed Christians, we have a lawgiver who is the Lord.  This is the only objective standard which keeps humans from drifting into committing evil in society or business.

I’ve studied and talked to some of the individuals involved with the scandal at WorldCom. CEO Bernie Ebbers taught Sunday school. Unfortunately he drifted away from applying biblical principles to his business and created one of the largest business scandals of all time. In talking to some people around him, there was a belief that he did nothing intentional to cause harm. I didn’t fully accept the statement; however, the intent, the drifting away from good business practice, integrity and applying biblical principles caused tremendous damage to thousands. It’s easy to sit back and criticize when others fall. Instead we need to recognize that any time we step away from following God’s commands we set ourselves up for a major fall. 

My advice to business leaders is this:  Don’t focus on Google’s model; stay focused on reading scripture every day. Ask the Lord for guidance. Ask him to correct your steps. Then, you will be a light in the marketplace, not doers of the evil. Only the Lord’s standard keeps us from evil; not our own.

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