Lessons from the Banking Scandal

The latest banking scandal, involving Barclays Bank, has led to the resignation of its Chairman. Their Chief Executive is also under pressure to resign. The scandal involves inter-bank lending rate-fixing, something few of us fully understand. The Bank has been fined £290m and has promised a root and branch review of its flawed past practices and a zero-tolerance policy to anything that damages its reputation. Politicians and leaders in the world of finance and business have condemned what has happened. Other banks are also being investigated.

It is strange that we should expect integrity in some sections of our society at a time when there has been a general rejection of almost all foundational moral principles. The Ten Commandments are not arbitrary rules which God has laid down, but establish the essential basis for personal morality and a healthy society. In recent years every one of those commandments has been undermined. God is no longer honoured and his Name and special day are treated with disdain. Honour and respect for parents is not taught or practised. The sanctity of life and of the marriage relationship has been set aside in favour of new moral “progressive” views. So why should we be surprised that some people steal what belongs to others, tell lies and covet money and possessions?

The systematic dismantling of moral standards in our society is very serious for us all. Some seem to believe that making more laws is the answer, but clearly it is not. We have never had so many new laws. Others appeal to the innate goodness of every human being and believe that education will solve all our problems. However, those involved in the banking scandal are highly intelligent and have enjoyed the best education, but still they acted dishonestly for their own gain.

The Bible presents a much more credible explanation of the problem we all face and of its solution. From the very beginning the Bible tells us that we are all flawed. We find it easier to break God’s laws than to keep them. We are not sinners because we commit sin, but commit sin because we have a sinful nature. For this reason God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to be the Saviour of sinful people like us. He died, not for his own sins, but for ours. Through trusting in him all of us can find the forgiveness we need and the power to live a new life.