Employee Exploitation – What Does The Bible Say?

One of the greatest evils prevailing among job sectors is the evil of injustice against employees. Some examples of employee exploitation are:

  1. Not paying salaries or wages in time.
  2. Overtasking them and not providing time for necessary rest (Sabbatical Injustice).
  3. Drawing them into unjust employment contracts with terms that are selfish and indifferent towards the employee.
  4. Paying the employee less than what is justly his/her due.
  5. Abusing them and dehumanizing them or treating them in an inhumane manner; humiliating or treating them as inferior.
  6. Blackmailing or forcing them to do things against their conscience.
  7. Placing them in situations which they are unprepared for and would certainly fail (Uriah’s Predicament: David arranged for him to be placed in a position where he would certainly be killed).
  8. Demanding directly or indirectly illegitimate and illegal conduct from the employee.
  9. Enslaving them.
  10. Not relieving them of job with provision when they leave the company or organization.

God is against employee injustice and will hold accountable any employer who fails to do justice to employees. Following are some scriptures by which God declares His law of Justice and how He deals with the workers of iniquity:

Lev 19:13 ‘ You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob [him.] The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning.

Deu 24:14-15 “You shall not oppress a hired servant [who is] poor and needy, [whether] one of your brethren or one of the aliens who [is] in your land within your gates.  Each day you shall give [him] his wages, and not let the sun go down on it, for he [is] poor and has set his heart on it; lest he cry out against you to the LORD, and it be sin to you.

Jer 22:13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness And his chambers by injustice, [Who] uses his neighbor’s service without wages And gives him nothing for his work.

Mal 3:5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien — Because they do not fear Me,” Says the LORD of hosts.

Jas 5:4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.

The Lord of Sabaoth is the Lord of all work and wages of righteousness on the earth and will hold accountable all who oppress those who are placed under them.

Mat 24:45-51
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed [is] that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat [his] fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for [him] and at an hour that he is not aware of,  and will cut him in two and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

God is especially very serious about providing times of due rest to employees so that they are not burnt out.

Exo 23:12 “Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.”

The sabbath day was for refreshing and recovery and healing, quite contrary to what the Jews began to think- they opposed even healing on that day. Sabbath was made for man and not man for sabbath.

Providing a proper leave and rest system is binding on employers.

Now, the employer certainly has the right to give to workers more than they deserve. This would be just an act of Grace. 

Mat 20:15 ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things?’

However, a just and righteous employer will never find a way to give to employees less than their day’s wages of labour (The denarius mentioned in the Parable was a laborer’s daily wage).

Regarding provision on relieving from job, God specified laws:

Deu 15:13-14 “And when you send him away free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed; you shall supply him liberally from your flock, from your threshing floor, and from your winepress. [From what] the LORD has blessed you with, you shall give to him.

Col 4:1 Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

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Encounter With Rigid Law (Excerpts from The Chronicles of Sin)

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Domenic Marbaniang“Come with me!” Law said and turned to walk.

I followed his quick steps on the sidewalk. From the corner of my eye I could see people pulling out their umbrellas, and there were flashes of lightning and a deep thunder roll. The sky moaned, groaned, rumbled, and turned moist; then, thick drops of water started pattering on my head and hands and my back as I kept my eyes and pace fixed after Law. I didn’t want to miss him. My mind thought, “If he could only get me back to the Bridge; perhaps, there could be some reversal… he certainly knows the way out; or else, how could he reach here…” He seemed to be running now, and I was amazed at his agility as he dodged pedestrians, vendors, benches, and stalls and trotted through complex streets and alleys. The raindrops had grown bigger, heavier, and faster, and people began to run helter and shelter, some going inside the shops for cover from the rain. We entered a dark alley, and I had the feeling that I was being followed, but didn’t dare to look back since I didn’t want to lose sight of the one before me. Suddenly, Law jumped into the right into a dark entrance, and I jumped after him.

We heard voices outside. “Where have they disappeared?” someone cried.

“Why has the sky eaten them up?” another rebuked. “You shouldn’t have lost sight of them!”

“What were YOU doing?”

“They went in here somewhere!”

“Can anyone run through a thick wall?”

I heard a stick tap on the entrance; it seemed like the sound of a tap on a stony wall.

“Somewhere here,” I heard a voice say. Then there were the sounds of fading footsteps. There were cracklings and flashes of light.

“Who are they and why were they after us?” I asked him.

“The Mystery of Lawlessness,” he replied “they are the agents of Sin, the men of iniquity.”

“Why were they after us?”

“To annihilate me.” There was that same sternness and indifference in his eyes. “But, that is impossible; for, I pervade the universe and to try to annihilate me is like trying to cut the branch one is sitting on. I was not running for myself, but for you.”

“For me?” I replied. I was drenched in the rain and now began to shiver as the rags inside began to chew on my flesh. I just wanted to remove and throw them all off. I looked at Law in the flashes of the lightning and was surprised that he was not wet at all. The rain didn’t touch him.

He was looking at me as if reading my thoughts. “I must be quick here,” he said. “As for your curiosity about the walls; they are not the way out.”

“Then, why does their rule book prohibit it?”

“Is it a rule book at all? The rules of this city are all farce; they are meant to only cover the treacherous nature of Sin and Flesh, whom they call here Sarx… They prohibit it to keep the people in deception; there is nothing beyond the walls; it’s an absolute void out there.”

Seven Deadly Sins

Map of the City of Magic

“So what is the way out?” I was grave and was shivering.

He held out his right hand and placed it on my shoulder. Immediately, my clothes dried; but the rags tightened hard over my skin. I almost felt I would cry out in pain; but, I only grimaced and he sternly looked at the pain in my eyes. He removed his hand and began to say,

“I am the Law of sickness and the Law of healing, the Law of rifting and the Law of sealing. I am the Law of the crest and also the Law of the trough, the Law of the rain and the Law of the drought. Wiser and prudent are they who consult me for answers to their problems instead of resorting to the governors of this City; for he who has known Law has found the gemstone that unlocks the mysteries of the universe.” He put his hands on both my arms and caught them in his palms. “Look into my eyes,” he said “and you will find the answer.”

I looked and behold his eyes were windows looking into the black outer space with whirling galaxies. The whirling started slow, then intensified, ending up in a giant explosion, a boom and then there was silence and absolute nothingness. Then, I saw a flood of light that flooded the universe, and could see a boat sailing over the light. I looked closely and could see the face of the boatman. It was Law. He sailed and he sailed rowing with the oar once this way and then that way. The oar looked like a sword. Suddenly, I saw that his oar was ripped away from his hands and flew and was caught by a giant shadow. The shadow grew large and I saw that it grew into a monster that began to swallow up the flood of light. There were shrieks of laughter and shrieks of war. I saw Law standing tall, straight, with outstretched arms while his boat kept drifting in the current of the flood into the mouth of the monster. Then, suddenly the sun appeared like a fiery ball and covered Law so that what appeared now looked like the figure of a man made of fire, and then I saw that they both drifted closer to the mouth of the monster. There were fiery flames darting off from the sun, and as they drew close to the mouth, I saw the figure of fire reach out his hand like a dart of flame and snatch away the sword from the shadowy monster, then plunge it back into the monster’s head. There was a mighty quaking; then the whole flood of light along with the sun and Law gulped into the throat of the shadow, and there was darkness everywhere. Suddenly, there was an explosion of brilliant light and it seemed that the shadow of the monster, which now appeared only for a twinkling of the eye, was fully swallowed up by the exuberant brightness of the light; and, in an instant there was such strong radiance everywhere that I turned my face and closed my eyes with my hands over them. Then, there was absolute silence and I began to hear the pattering of the rain.

“Open your eyes,” he said. I opened my eyes and saw him standing a little distance away.

“What was it all?” I asked.

“The battle between good and evil,” he answered.

“What was the flood of light, the monster, and all of those things that I saw?”

“The flood of light is the City of Light, the boat is the Bridge of Time, the oar is the sword that decides the fate of Time, the monster is the insatiable City of Magic, and the sun is the One. This is the key to the mystery of the present that will unravel your future. Keep this vision in your mind, for when you get to the end of yourself, the One will cover you like a ball of fire and bring you victoriously up to the City of Light. ”

Law and Grace in Church Clothing

There is an increasing trend towards becoming trendy at church, which is not always bad. We must make a distinction between faith and culture; culture is dynamic and flexible; faith has to be absolute. The problem rises when faith attempts to claim elements of culture in order to sacralize them and render them inflexible. When faith tries to do that, then the result is a legalistic religious system that is very fundamentalistic. These issues were earlier discussed here. However, grace is not lawless either. The New Testaments cautions us against those who attempt to turn the grace of God into license for evil (Jude 1:4, NET).

Take the Example of Clothing

Let’s begin at the pulpit and one immediately notes at least 5 variants:
1. Those who stick to orthodox robes and cassocks or sacralized color definitions (e.g. white)
2. Those who stress on wearing business suits or traditional suits
3. Those who like to wear designer and more trendy clothes
4. Those who like to wear casuals.
5. Those who are comfortable with two or more of the combinations above
    (a) Those who are comfortable with 1-4
    (b) Those who are comfortable with 2-4
    (c) Those who are comfortable with 1,2,4 but not 3
    (d) Those who are comfortable with 2,3,4 but not 1
    (e) Those who are comfortable with only 2 and 4.
    (f) Those who are comfortable with only 1 and 2.
    (g) Those who stick to 2 and 3 or 3 and 4.

It is not attempted to state here who is right and who is wrong. However, it will become evident to the reader by now that the issue of law and grace is basic even to the kind of dress we choose to wear to church.

Now, while it does seem that the sacralizers (1) are particularly legalistic, the fact is that even those who maintain that only casuals “ought” to be worn to church are not less legalistic. On the other hand, there are those who look at dress in a more instrumental manner, as something to be used to suit some purpose. The wiser instrumentalists also know that dress-forms as cultural forms also communicate meanings and are cautious how they dress up. There are also revolutionaries who dress up to explicitly and blatantly communicate their revolt against some legalistic system. Then, there are the popularists who dress up in order to have a trendy following or to create a brand.

“Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” (Rom.12:2)

“those who use the world as though they were not using it to the full. For the present shape of this world is passing away.”(1Cor.7:31)

“to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control.” (1Tim.2:9)

Suitable apparel refers to dress that suits the occasion and is comfortable to wear in the conditions. Modesty implies that the dress we wear must not be embarrassing and must protect shame, not be shameless and exposing privacy; dress must be honorable. Self-control means that our dress must not be provocative or appealing to the flesh but must exhibit self-control, temperance, and sound mind.

Few Characteristics of Mosaic Law

Few of the Characteristics of the Mosaic Law were as follows:

1. Ground: Love. It was based upon the Great Commandment: the Commandment of Love. (Matt.22:40)
2. Subjects: Sinners. The Law was given for the lawless (1Tim.1:9)
3. Function: To Expose Sin. The Law exposed sin, what it is. (Rom.3:20)
4. Internal Witness: Conscience. The human conscience bore witness to the justness of this Law (Rom.2:15). We must remember that the conscience is not just an effect of social learning. It is a justifier and judge in the epistemics of morality. The apprehension there is not just rational, but apodeitical and intuitive. However, when salt loses its saltness, there is nothing with which to salten it again.
5. Ability/Power: To Condemn. The Law could only condemn humans; it could never justify them. (Gal.3:10)
6. Effect: Death. The Law killed; it could never give life (2Cor.3:6; 1Cor.15:56; Rom.7:9,10))

Note: Jesus came to fulfill the Law, not to abolish it (Matt.5:17). In fact, the Commandments of Grace are tougher than the Commandments of the Law (Matt 5:19,20. See Also GRACE ABOVE LAW)

The Moral Basis of Indian Law

Now, while the debate exists in the philosophy of law about the relationship between political laws and the moral law, attempts to base the laws on anything other than the moral law sooner face problems of justifiability. While it may be the case that reductionism of politics to ethics is not totally feasible, resort to anti reductionism is only self-defeating. And, then authority arguments that try to derive validity of laws from higher laws, which in return try to derive their validity from a much higher one (e.g. Hans Kelsen’s Pure Theory of Law), will have to strike ceiling at some point ( See Marmor, A. Philosophy of Law, Princeton, 2011). For instance, the judges under Hitler’s regime could not be absolved upon the relativist presumption that they were only conforming to some law of a sovereign nation. The question of validity and justice could not be anchored in such “sovereign” authority alone.

However, this doesn’t mean that authority doesn’t count. In fact, authority does often prescribe laws in many cases, but the laws are only instrumental towards a much larger cause. Thus, we have law-givers such as Solon, Moses, and Manu. However, the validity of the prescriptions are based on a deeper intent. The intent or the spirit of the law is what matters. It also means that where laws fail to serve the intent, they must fade away and give place to the new.
Plato’s elaborative study of justice as an ethical virtue in the analogically larger Republic is based on the same understanding that ethics and politics are inseparable. Similarly, his disciple Aristotle didn’t see any reason to separate the both. In the Biblical tradition, the entire Mosaic Law was based on the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments, which were the essence of the Law. Jesus pointed out that they all hung on the two Great Commandments: To love God absolutely and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. Of course, Paul, later submitted that the Law was only a revealer and a restricter. It revealed human sinfulness and it was meant to restrict the lawless (it was given for the lawless). Jesus pointed out that certain laws (for instance, the law of divorce) were only permissive because of the hardness of human hearts, but didn’t reflect the original intent of human creation.
Looking, now, into the Indian Constitution, one asks what is Indian Law based upon ultimately. The Preamble makes the democratic nature of the Republic clear. And, so it is the people’s government for sure. But, the moral philosophy is indicated in words like “humanism” and “scientific temper”, featured later on under Fundamental Duties. While the temper is scientific, the philosophical ground is humanism and its philosophy of man is condensed in the section called Fundamental Rights. The Law exists to ensure the protection of these fundamental rights of every Indian citizen. Consequently, any law that is inconsistent with these rights is automatically annulled.
The Fundamental Rights are not prescriptions to the people but declarations of humanism. These declarations are prescriptive only to the laws, since the laws are expected to conform to them. Thus, they not only inform but also serve as reference points, as absolute foundation, for the laws. As such, we may refer to them, with regard to humanism, as the intent, or spirit of the laws; perhaps even as the Law of the laws since they serve as the measure of all laws.
But, how do we know that these declarations are true? Perhaps, it is similar to asking about the laws of logic, “How does one know whether they are true?” The answer is: by using them or trying not to use them. One cannot deny them, but then one cannot deny anything without using them. Similarly, one cannot deny the Fundamental Rights without himself losing the rights.