When do you draw the line?

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love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#1
Hello All,

I've been pondering my job and position a lot lately. I am a teacher and there have been so many situations this year that keep bringing me back to the same question: when do we draw the line in continuing to do work when it just doesn't go with what we believe in? This could be beliefs connected to our faith, but it could also just be morally, developmentally, or in general with how you see life.

I truly love teaching, but I'm wondering about all the extra stuff and situations that have been going along with it.

Is it wrong to do work that you don't believe in or agree with?
Is one being too picky when they decide to move on because it doesn't align with your beliefs?
Shouldn't you be passionate and believe in what you're doing on a daily basis, even if work doesn't make up your whole life?
Should I just be thankful for a job that I enjoy for the most part?

What have been your experiences with this?

Thank you for sharing!
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
11,214
5,625
113
#2
First, welcome to CC! Glad you asked those questions...

I can't say that I've ever experienced a moral dilemma with my job, so in that way I don't speak from experience. However, one thing I can say from experience: if you're a Christian, God is with you in your workplace, so taking the matter to Him is the best place to start.

I think your response should depend on the nature of the issues and how avoidable they are. If it's a core area of your job, and is clearly a violation of your moral code, it's time to move on. If it's a matter of opinion, and just makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to get past it. Ask the Lord for guidance.

Standing up for what you believe is good, but choose your battles. You might find Daniel 3 an encouraging read.
 

cinder

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2014
3,111
1,132
113
#3
Hello All,

I've been pondering my job and position a lot lately. I am a teacher and there have been so many situations this year that keep bringing me back to the same question: when do we draw the line in continuing to do work when it just doesn't go with what we believe in? This could be beliefs connected to our faith, but it could also just be morally, developmentally, or in general with how you see life.

I truly love teaching, but I'm wondering about all the extra stuff and situations that have been going along with it.

Is it wrong to do work that you don't believe in or agree with?
Is one being too picky when they decide to move on because it doesn't align with your beliefs?
Shouldn't you be passionate and believe in what you're doing on a daily basis, even if work doesn't make up your whole life?
Should I just be thankful for a job that I enjoy for the most part?


What have been your experiences with this?

Thank you for sharing!
Well, there are no perfect jobs and any job you take is going to have some aspects and pressures that you don't like. Sometimes the correct response to pressure is to fight back by forging a new path and response to the situation and sometimes the situation is so immoral that there's no good way to stay.

It may be a nice fantasy that everyone gets meaningful work that they are passionate about and fully believe in, but it's a modern fantasy and most people (especially those who would be considered lower on the socio-economic scale) don't get to wait around and choose a job like that. So by all means pursue finding a job you love and are fully invested in and passionate about, but don't let those job daydreams keep you from a good decision.

I'd have to agree with Dino though, that if you can't perform the core duties of your job without promoting or participating in things that you consider immoral, you should leave. But I'd also encourage you to get creative about how you do the core duties of your job before you conclude that you can't do your job and maintain your moral integrity. A great example of this in my own life was my high school biology teacher. I went to a small private high school and my Biology teacher was a man of firm religious belief. Although he never came out and said so, looking back on it I'm pretty convinced he didn't believe in human evolution. But it's a pretty glaring curriculum gap to have a high school biology class and not talk about human evolution, so what was he to do? He basically turned that unit into a class project where we all were assigned one of the early human species and researched it to present what evidence there was for it and presented it to the class. And what I remember most was him pointing out in one of the presentations that despite all this one group had found about one of the supposedly earliest ones, they were basically basing all their ideas on a few small bits of mouth fossil that had been found. So while they had this great story made up, it was mostly speculation and not well supported fact.

And yes it's tough to be a teacher these days, but that's all the more reason the world needs good Godly teachers.
 

Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
14,962
2,756
113
#4
Howdy love_comes_softly. (Wasn't that the name of a show or movie? I remember a commercial on my grandmother's TV with that line...) Anyway, welcome to the forum.

We can't really say where the line should be drawn because we have no information about the issues you are facing. But if we did know, we still couldn't say because it's not our line to be drawn. But it's a common problem, with Christians and Buddhists and Muslims and people of all religions.

Being passionate about your job though... Well... if that's a requirement for a happy life, good luck with that. Usually you just gotta take the job you can find and do it to support yourself. It's a job, not your life. As long as you are working to live, not living to work - as long as your job does not become your life - you're ahead of the game.
 

Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
14,962
2,756
113
#5
[flippant]
Me, I have ethical problems at my job too. I work at a fast food factory... in fact I work at the stereotypical fast food factory, McDonald's itself. But I personally enjoy good food. In fact on my lunch break I don't eat fast food there, I bring lunch from home. But all day at work I make "food" that I don't consider real food, for customers who want it and believe it IS real food. I have often wondered if I should be apologizing to the customers. I feel kind of guilty giving them "food" that I wouldn't eat.


One more thing before I turn flippant mode off: The only teaching job that has no ethical problems is math.



a(b+c)=(ab)+(ac). Politicize THAT. :p

Okay I'm done now.
[/flippant]
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#6
First, welcome to CC! Glad you asked those questions...

I can't say that I've ever experienced a moral dilemma with my job, so in that way I don't speak from experience. However, one thing I can say from experience: if you're a Christian, God is with you in your workplace, so taking the matter to Him is the best place to start.

I think your response should depend on the nature of the issues and how avoidable they are. If it's a core area of your job, and is clearly a violation of your moral code, it's time to move on. If it's a matter of opinion, and just makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to get past it. Ask the Lord for guidance.

Standing up for what you believe is good, but choose your battles. You might find Daniel 3 an encouraging read.
Thank you very much for sharing, I read Daniel 3 today. I appreciate having the scripture to reference to. I think learning to pick my battles is certainly something I have to keep in mind as well as thinking about something being just an opinion. I will be praying.

I am new under love_comes_softly, but I am a past member (keep_on_smiling). I felt to come back after a break, but wasn't able to get the name back or didn't know how. :)
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#7
Well, there are no perfect jobs and any job you take is going to have some aspects and pressures that you don't like. Sometimes the correct response to pressure is to fight back by forging a new path and response to the situation and sometimes the situation is so immoral that there's no good way to stay.

It may be a nice fantasy that everyone gets meaningful work that they are passionate about and fully believe in, but it's a modern fantasy and most people (especially those who would be considered lower on the socio-economic scale) don't get to wait around and choose a job like that. So by all means pursue finding a job you love and are fully invested in and passionate about, but don't let those job daydreams keep you from a good decision.

I'd have to agree with Dino though, that if you can't perform the core duties of your job without promoting or participating in things that you consider immoral, you should leave. But I'd also encourage you to get creative about how you do the core duties of your job before you conclude that you can't do your job and maintain your moral integrity. A great example of this in my own life was my high school biology teacher. I went to a small private high school and my Biology teacher was a man of firm religious belief. Although he never came out and said so, looking back on it I'm pretty convinced he didn't believe in human evolution. But it's a pretty glaring curriculum gap to have a high school biology class and not talk about human evolution, so what was he to do? He basically turned that unit into a class project where we all were assigned one of the early human species and researched it to present what evidence there was for it and presented it to the class. And what I remember most was him pointing out in one of the presentations that despite all this one group had found about one of the supposedly earliest ones, they were basically basing all their ideas on a few small bits of mouth fossil that had been found. So while they had this great story made up, it was mostly speculation and not well supported fact.

And yes it's tough to be a teacher these days, but that's all the more reason the world needs good Godly teachers.
Cinder, thank you so much for all that you shared. I think it's pretty amazing and what a blessing to have that Biology teacher. I'm really feeling I may need to look at my job from a different persepctive. I certainly don't have to enjoy it all the time, but I do need to make sure that I am bringing God into it in the way that He'd have me to. Even if it is quiet. :) I'm praying for discernment, in whether it's me and my frustrations or if it's actually an issue.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#8
Howdy love_comes_softly. (Wasn't that the name of a show or movie? I remember a commercial on my grandmother's TV with that line...) Anyway, welcome to the forum.

We can't really say where the line should be drawn because we have no information about the issues you are facing. But if we did know, we still couldn't say because it's not our line to be drawn. But it's a common problem, with Christians and Buddhists and Muslims and people of all religions.

Being passionate about your job though... Well... if that's a requirement for a happy life, good luck with that. Usually you just gotta take the job you can find and do it to support yourself. It's a job, not your life. As long as you are working to live, not living to work - as long as your job does not become your life - you're ahead of the game.
Lynx, Love Comes Softly is a book series, made movie that I enjoyed. It's a sweet story. You are right, I don't want to live to work; that is my goal. What a hard balance that is though.

Thank you for sharing about your job, in some ways my issues are like that.

One of our major changes this year was with a program that we are being required to teach. It goes against all research about how kiddos learn and I feel bad teaching/ requiring things of these kids, that I know is wrong. I feel like parents trust us to do the best for their kids and we aren't doing that with this program. After almost a year, it's proven not to be working very well, if at all. That's just one of the lines I'm wondering about.
 

zeroturbulence

Senior Member
Aug 2, 2009
22,679
2,466
113
#9
Lynx, Love Comes Softly is a book series, made movie that I enjoyed. It's a sweet story. You are right, I don't want to live to work; that is my goal. What a hard balance that is though.

Thank you for sharing about your job, in some ways my issues are like that.

One of our major changes this year was with a program that we are being required to teach. It goes against all research about how kiddos learn and I feel bad teaching/ requiring things of these kids, that I know is wrong. I feel like parents trust us to do the best for their kids and we aren't doing that with this program. After almost a year, it's proven not to be working very well, if at all. That's just one of the lines I'm wondering about.
I don't think you should quit over these things, but instead find a group or organization that's trying to fix those things and join them to help bring about a solution, while conforming to the rules in the meantime.

Romans 13:1,5-6 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#10
I don't think you should quit over these things, but instead find a group or organization that's trying to fix those things and join them to help bring about a solution, while conforming to the rules in the meantime.

Romans 13:1,5-6 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
Thank you very much. A friend of mine recently shared something quite similar to what you shared. I am apart of a group that is trying to bring about change in this area, I guess that's sort of what had me discouraged, as it's not going well. I need to trust the Lord in this season. He has a plan in this and I do believe He has me there. I've appreciated everyone's input, as it is helping me see that I have some things to work on inwardly to do my work unto Him and trust that these decidions out of my control, are in His.
 

17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
524
239
43
33
#11
How about looking back a few years when economies were a little more stressful and jobs not so plentiful. It's amazing how ethics diminish and moralities abate in lock step to a recession. Case in point, I was working for a company that contracted building automated systems to other companies. The service contracts were annual, so an employee like me may be devoted to one or two buildings and all my time is paid for by these building owners. No matter how my time was allotted, it was all paid by these two buildings.

Enter the fact that the company I worked for was losing contracts and laying off employees. Then figure in that some of the laid off employees serviced several small buildings - some of whom ended their contracts and some who continued. So, I was one of the guys whose contracts were not lost, but our company had no one to service the smaller buildings that remained. So - I serviced those buildings even though ALL my time and materials were paid by my original contracts. Therefore, the company I worked for was double dipping.

You could consider this unethical or you could consider it a desperate move to keep a company solvent, but I'm not sure our "considerations" carry much weight when it comes to our Christian beliefs. On the other hand, contracts were lost and so were jobs, unemployment was over 10% and people like me were doing whatever we had to do to stay employed. So, in essence, I was no better on an ethical scale than the company I worked for.

I left the company but don't pat me on the shoulder yet. After a long string of circumstances and after a few more contracts were lost and picked up by another company, that other company offered me a job and I took it.

They're smarter. They don't tell me who I'm paid by, but I'm already tainted and I see this kind of thing happening every day even when the economy is good. So, somebody could say I just didn't have faith that God would take care of me, but He also said don't be an idiot and bury my money when it can't even bear interest. So it paradoxical and I understand where the OP is coming from.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#12
How about looking back a few years when economies were a little more stressful and jobs not so plentiful. It's amazing how ethics diminish and moralities abate in lock step to a recession. Case in point, I was working for a company that contracted building automated systems to other companies. The service contracts were annual, so an employee like me may be devoted to one or two buildings and all my time is paid for by these building owners. No matter how my time was allotted, it was all paid by these two buildings.

Enter the fact that the company I worked for was losing contracts and laying off employees. Then figure in that some of the laid off employees serviced several small buildings - some of whom ended their contracts and some who continued. So, I was one of the guys whose contracts were not lost, but our company had no one to service the smaller buildings that remained. So - I serviced those buildings even though ALL my time and materials were paid by my original contracts. Therefore, the company I worked for was double dipping.

You could consider this unethical or you could consider it a desperate move to keep a company solvent, but I'm not sure our "considerations" carry much weight when it comes to our Christian beliefs. On the other hand, contracts were lost and so were jobs, unemployment was over 10% and people like me were doing whatever we had to do to stay employed. So, in essence, I was no better on an ethical scale than the company I worked for.

I left the company but don't pat me on the shoulder yet. After a long string of circumstances and after a few more contracts were lost and picked up by another company, that other company offered me a job and I took it.

They're smarter. They don't tell me who I'm paid by, but I'm already tainted and I see this kind of thing happening every day even when the economy is good. So, somebody could say I just didn't have faith that God would take care of me, but He also said don't be an idiot and bury my money when it can't even bear interest. So it paradoxical and I understand where the OP is coming from.

This is exactly the types of dilemmas I'm thinking about with work. It's really quite challenging. We need to work and there aren't always many options, so we can't be too picky, but should we be? That's kinda where I was going.
 

love_comes_softly

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2019
383
404
63
#13
Another instance at my job (I suspect other jobs as well) is dealing with the "new" types of families and having students that may be a boy, but we have to recognize them as a girl. I can't say "boys" and "girls" any more. I just don't know. I know it comes down to loving each one of my kiddos, but I struggle with whether or not I should be in the situation.
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
29,036
7,449
113
64
Florida
#14
Hello All,

I've been pondering my job and position a lot lately. I am a teacher and there have been so many situations this year that keep bringing me back to the same question: when do we draw the line in continuing to do work when it just doesn't go with what we believe in? This could be beliefs connected to our faith, but it could also just be morally, developmentally, or in general with how you see life.

I truly love teaching, but I'm wondering about all the extra stuff and situations that have been going along with it.

Is it wrong to do work that you don't believe in or agree with?
Is one being too picky when they decide to move on because it doesn't align with your beliefs?
Shouldn't you be passionate and believe in what you're doing on a daily basis, even if work doesn't make up your whole life?
Should I just be thankful for a job that I enjoy for the most part?


What have been your experiences with this?

Thank you for sharing!
I would be thankful for the job. As long as the work is not immoral there is nothing wrong. You are a teacher and not a Sunday school teacher, just present the material the best and most effective way that you can. Not too many of us are passionate about our jobs but still carry on. That's just the way that it is.
 

17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
524
239
43
33
#15
Another instance at my job (I suspect other jobs as well) is dealing with the "new" types of families and having students that may be a boy, but we have to recognize them as a girl. I can't say "boys" and "girls" any more. I just don't know. I know it comes down to loving each one of my kiddos, but I struggle with whether or not I should be in the situation.
I know! I mean, you can read Deuteronomy 22:5 about as well as I can, but in your case regarding recognizing boys or girls, I think you could probably "render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar...." and follow whatever rules your school says. You have no control over what your superiors think is best for the company/school they're a part of. BUT there's always this nagging feeling you're not being fair to the child. You're not teaching them what is true and it's something that could have detrimental effects on them when you feel your job is to do the exact opposite.

Honestly, as I think about it, your job has more opportunity to effect a positive or negative change in a student and long term, far reaching effect on their growth and, thus, societal growth than any other job I can think of. That's a huge responsibility. Probably a responsibility long forgotten by tenured professors and administrators. So - just forget that first paragraph.....

The fact that you're thinking about these things .... the fact that I have ..... should probably challenge us to conduct ourselves in such a way as to be Christ-like. One having a loving and forgiving spirit, one having a moral compass, a person profiting from belief in our God of Israel, regardless of PC influences. A person that leads by example instead of current fads. These are the teachings that turn an educator into the one your pupil remembers when they turn 60. The one that taught them the important matters.
 

TamLynn

A heart at rest
Nov 27, 2014
456
575
93
#16
Another instance at my job (I suspect other jobs as well) is dealing with the "new" types of families and having students that may be a boy, but we have to recognize them as a girl. I can't say "boys" and "girls" any more. I just don't know. I know it comes down to loving each one of my kiddos, but I struggle with whether or not I should be in the situation.
I have the same concerns in my job. I work at a Christian childcare center, I've been there for almost 30 years.
I often wonder when/if I'll have to stop addressing children as boys and girls, him and her, he and she.
It's sad to hear little ones say 'I can be a girl (when they're a boy) or a boy (when they're a girl) if I want to'. Some of these children are only 4 and they're already being heavily influenced.
You're right though. They key is to love them. Love them in everyway Jesus lays it on your heart to. Trust that he'll give you 'appropriate' (for lack of better word) ways to share His love with them, without you having to compromise what you know to be true, while still respecting who they think they are, or who/ what they want to be.
It would be my pleasure to pray for you and anything specific you may need prayer for. Feel free to message me anytime!
God bless you!
 

Didymous

Senior Member
Feb 22, 2018
4,417
1,633
113
#17
Hello All,

I've been pondering my job and position a lot lately. I am a teacher and there have been so many situations this year that keep bringing me back to the same question: when do we draw the line in continuing to do work when it just doesn't go with what we believe in? This could be beliefs connected to our faith, but it could also just be morally, developmentally, or in general with how you see life.

I truly love teaching, but I'm wondering about all the extra stuff and situations that have been going along with it.

Is it wrong to do work that you don't believe in or agree with?
Is one being too picky when they decide to move on because it doesn't align with your beliefs?
Shouldn't you be passionate and believe in what you're doing on a daily basis, even if work doesn't make up your whole life?
Should I just be thankful for a job that I enjoy for the most part?


What have been your experiences with this?

Thank you for sharing!

I guess you can figure God allowed you to have your job, and do what you can to represent him, or you can do like some of my Pentecostal friends do, and start full-time ministry-believing that God will provide for your needs. I've never had a job where there wasn't some kind of disagreement with the world.
 

Zan

Member
Mar 15, 2019
57
71
18
#18
If a job conflicts with your personal morals or ethics, you should probably work toward finding one that doesn't, or at least one that doesn't tread on subject matter that brings up the issues in the first place. As a teacher, I would imagine there are options out there with private or religious schools which may be more sympathetic to your principles.
 
Mar 21, 2019
487
163
43
#19
Hello All,

I've been pondering my job and position a lot lately. I am a teacher and there have been so many situations this year that keep bringing me back to the same question: when do we draw the line in continuing to do work when it just doesn't go with what we believe in? This could be beliefs connected to our faith, but it could also just be morally, developmentally, or in general with how you see life.

I truly love teaching, but I'm wondering about all the extra stuff and situations that have been going along with it.

Is it wrong to do work that you don't believe in or agree with?
Is one being too picky when they decide to move on because it doesn't align with your beliefs?
Shouldn't you be passionate and believe in what you're doing on a daily basis, even if work doesn't make up your whole life?
Should I just be thankful for a job that I enjoy for the most part?


What have been your experiences with this?

Thank you for sharing!
Sometimes, there are ways around ethical dilemmas. For example, I don't believe that vaccines are safe or effective, but it might go against me in my line of work to say such. So instead, I might use questions that hint at my views, but can't be used as conclusive proof against me. "Are you sure about that?" or "Why do you believe that?", with a smile, so as to show that I know the belief of the other is bunk. I'm not really sure this is the best approach, and it certainly doesn't feel as good as going in with the all-out truth, but it gets a message across without being too forceful or risking my job.

I guess if asked directly about something, I would try to share my view, but I understand that could be dangerous in terms of job loss for some things. Perhaps you should define the line/s that you are not willing to cross, understand the risks of not crossing them, and deal with those situations in the way you have determined, should they arise? Although Jesus also tells His disciples not to worry when talking to governors etc., as the Holy Spirit would guide them in what to say. But I'm not sure if the passage was talking about these sort of situations.

One more thing before I turn flippant mode off: The only teaching job that has no ethical problems is math.
Even mathematics has its share of ethical problems. In geometry class working with compasses, inscribing shapes, circumcircles etc, a girl asked the teacher "How do you circumcise a circle?" (I think she meant circumscribe).

"With delicate fingers, a sharp implement, and great precision", came the reply to the puzzlement of the girl, the amusement of the other students, and the demonstration to all that mathematics has an ethical solution for every ethical problem.