Sunday, December 1, 2013

Engraved with the point of a diamond

Long ago, in 587 BC, a man stood within the walls of a city that was being destroyed because it would not, could not do the right thing. He said with disgust, “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain. 
All practice deceit. Sin…is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart.” His name was Jeremiah.

Fast forward 2,588 years. Has man's basic nature changed?

 In 2001, a company called Enron became enveloped in a scandal that would lead to its demise. The greed and hubris of the executives was finally made known. The supposed watchdog, the auditing firm of Arthur Anderson, was also brought low due to their complicit activity in covering for Enron. In response, a number of laws were passed in an effort to prevent such behavior in the future. One of these changes was to require that certified public accountants, who perform the auditing, undergo proper moral training. It was thought that would prevent what occurred at Arthur Anderson.

Recently, I attended an all-day seminar covering a variety of relevant topics - taxes, rule changes, etc. Many were scrambling to complete their eight hours of required "continuing professional education" before the end of the year so as not to lose their license to practice. I attended with two colleagues. After a couple of hours, one leaned over to me and said, "I am going to step out for a bit. I’ll be back."

The clock ticked and hours went by. Finally, one hour before the end of the day he reappeared. “Had to make a couple long phone calls” he said. Interestingly, the final hour subject ? Ethics. The instructor spoke of right and left turns and of - well - just doing the right thing. My colleague leaned over toward the end and said, “This is all just common sense.” The final session ending he picked up his certificate reading, “Eight Hours of Continuing Professional Education Achieved.”

Smiling, he casually walked out of the hall.

“Sin…is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart.”

Some things never change.

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