When you consider buying something, what factors do you weigh up? Necessity? Price? Quality? Style? Benefits or usefulness?
Many considerations may come into play whether we are looking to buy a small item or service or making a major financial commitment in buying a car or house.
Advocates for ‘ethical shopping’ encourage us to also weigh up the ‘ethical status’ of things we buy, that is, how ‘responsible’ a product is in terms of its environmental and social impact and corporate governance.
Christians look first to Jesus’ life and teachings and the Bible generally for guidance on ethical matters. Concerning business practices, the Bible teaches that bosses are to treat their workers with respect and pay them fairly, primary producers are to take care of the land and waters so that they remain fruitful, and merchants are to deal honestly with suppliers and customers.
Jesus weighed up our lives and found them so valuable that he gave his life to save us. Now he calls on us to love others as he loves them.
So, we can make a good case for Christians to demonstrate love for their neighbours and care for God’s earth by considering the environmental and social impacts of the products and services they buy.
However, discerning a product’s ethical status is not always straightforward. And individual situations in terms of incomes and priorities will affect people’s choices.
Christians seek to please God by making good choices. But they realise good choices don’t earn salvation. Our ‘best ethical life’ falls far short of God’s standards. We try to please him out of gratitude and because we want to follow Jesus’ example.
So, take time to think about how you spend money. Reflect on your motivation for buying what you buy. And be slow to judge others who choose differently from you.
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