About eight months ago I got a new job. I am the bookkeeper for a small business. The owner orders me to do things that are illegal, like change the amount of taxes that he owes and falsify the hours of the employees. Ever since I have been doing this, I have not had any peace. I feel very bad because I am robbing the state and failing God at the same time.

I always ask God to change the heart of this man so he will do things legally. He has improved in some ways, but I don’t know what to do. Should I resign or continue doing my job and praying that God will work on him? What decision should I make?

Dear Friend,

Your situation seems to be one of those difficult ones where you can see positive results that might come from either alternative, but also negative consequences to both options. It is often difficult to analyze which is more important: the possible positive results or the probable negative consequences.

Many people can identify with your situation. Their employers require unethical and sometimes even illegal behavior on their part. They need the job, so they keep quiet and hope that no one finds out. But as you have indicated is true for you, their consciences keep reminding them that all is not well, and they cannot find peace.

God gave you your conscience to keep you from getting into situations that could rob you of the peace that only comes from being on good terms with Him. That is why the Apostle Paul said, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”(1) The message that your conscience continues to put in your mind should not be ignored. To have a clean conscience before God and men (specifically the legal authorities), we believe that you should resign.

Some people find themselves in your situation, but they believe that they can’t resign from their job for one reason or another. They continue to go to work, day after day, and are forced to act in ways that are against their ethical beliefs and standards. In these cases, one of two things eventually happens: either they live in constant turmoil and possibly even develop a stress‑induced illness, or their conscience malfunctions and they no longer feel any guilt for the unethical or illegal actions that they routinely take. We encourage you to avoid these unwelcome consequences by leaving your job as soon as possible, and to ask God to help you find new employment where your ethical standards will not be compromised.

Of course, you should continue to pray for your boss, asking the Lord to speak through his conscience. Maybe the example of your quiet determination will be the factor that will finally get his attention and cause him to evaluate his actions.

Follow your conscience!

Linda and Charles
1 Ac 24:16