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Monday, October 16, 2017

Catch a Falling Star

Harvey Weinstein. I’m guessing more Google searches have been done on that name than anyone else in recent memory. Harvey might live in infamy in the category of Hollywood exploitation of power.

A number of lessons can be learned here. One is how quickly your “friends” become your critics. The slowest to come around with concern were those who benefited from the many favors Mr. Weinstein could provide. Like money. Access. Jobs. You know, the basics of life.

Even the former First Lady had to fess up. Bill’s wife, the nearly-elected president Hillary Clinton, says she was “shocked and appalled” by the revelations! One might be concerned this response was a bit feigned in light of similar language missing from her mouth following public revelations about her husband.

If shock is to be expressed, we should be shocked that we’re shocked to read this has happened! Actually, the workplace is full of this stuff. Women, and to some degree men, are fully aware this “grab for the sexual goodies” goes on wherever money and power coincide. They are like two sides of the personal greed coin.

Another lesson is how willing we are to sacrifice our supposed values. Many women refused to give in to Mr. Weinstein. How many more in Hollywood and throughout the world feel obligated to serve their power masters out of fear or selfish ambition? A sacrifice at the altar of false gods.

And then there’s the companion “hush up” problem. What did you know? And when did you know it? Some of the earlier and obvious known acts by Harvey suddenly disappeared from the legal books. Probably hundreds—maybe thousands—of folks knew what was happening behind the curtain. But they refused to speak. Oz might take them down. Or refuse to build them up.

Temptation is a vicious thing. Personal battles with it plague us all. When it moves into the workplace, it can quickly kill careers.

Witness the recent resignation of a congressman from Pennsylvania. This one was more personal for me since we were friends from my days in Pittsburgh. A known and respected psychologist—and man of supposed faith—Tim rose from state political office to the U.S. Congress. He’s a family man.

Somewhere amidst his several terms as a congressman, Tim became enamored with a female psychologist. And she with him. The two of them conceived a child.

For as long as I’ve known him, Tim was a strong pro-life voice. It most certainly aligned with his faith tradition. But now, faced with the unwanted pregnancy, his value system faced a crisis. He encouraged his new relational partner to get an abortion. The news covered it as hypocrisy. There goes a defeat for “family values.”

Of course there are other ways we lose our moorings at the workplace. Maybe the boss asks for other favors. A business adjustment of numbers. Deceit on shipping information. Outright lying for where the boss might be at a given time.

Small things perhaps. But moral cavings nonetheless. Often done out of fear. Or that same selfish ambition.

The attraction for power and what it brings is not new. It started with a woman and man believing a lie that they could be like God. Just eat the forbidden fruit. The story in Genesis 3 offers this revelation in verse 7: “Then, it was as if their eyes were opened.”

We, of course, believe Harvey Weinstein to be a sick man. He is. And so am I. And so are you. We need healing. We need new life. We need a spiritual makeover. We need…Jesus.

The workplace is not a safe place. Power and money can corrupt so easily. May godly wisdom give us the strength to live by our convictions.

As for Harvey, he’s not beyond redemption. Perhaps God will step in and somehow catch this falling star.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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