The benefit of hindsight
It is easy to be wise after the event, as the saying goes. Carillion was by far the largest business based in Wolverhampton and employed 43,000 people worldwide - 20,000 in the UK. Now there is an air of gloom over the head office (in Salop St. but a prominent sight from the ring road).
Many staff do not currently know if they will be paid for work they do following the appointment of liquidators. Sub contractors, however, do know they will lose out on payment for past work and many fear following Carillion into liquidation. Many small business owners will lose their livelihood and sometimes their homes, with all the strain and stress that will place on their families and relationships.
Many politicians and commentators are asking “What could have been done to avoid this?” And in workplaces, pubs, homes and wherever people meet many are asking “Who is to blame?” and answering the question forcefully. The bosses should have known and been honest. There should have been employees’ representatives on the Board. The Government should have known it was coming and stopped placing contracts.
It is indeed easy to be wise after the event. Looking back we can plot the course of history. But the funny thing is that looking forward we have all sorts of ideas about what might happen - the simple truth is that few of them will happen!
The history of many similar situations suggests that the bosses could not see it coming until the banks refused to lend more money. They were confident they would do what they had done before - trade out of trouble. Employee directors would probably not have seen it coming either and might have urged a more cautious approach which might actually have made the collapse more likely. If the Government had been more cautious and not continued the contracts and placing new ones, that in itself would have prompted a collapse when it might have been avoided.
There are no simple solutions. But does the Bible have any wisdom for us in this sort of situation?
As Christians, we put our trust in God not an employer or a company or anything else. We pray “Give us this day our daily bread” and expect Him to provide for us today. In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches we do not have to be anxious. That does not mean God will give what we want but it does reorient us to look to Him not to mere human provision. We seek the Kingdom first and trust Him. We refuse to be anxious because we know His nature is love (1 John 4:16). So we ask for today and refuse to worry about tomorrow. That does not mean we do not plan for the future - He has given us brains and wisdom and expects us to use them! Praying for daily bread might include asking for wisdom to plan well today for next year. But our attitude is one of trust.
That is all very well for us Christians, but what about those who find it hard to trust God and do not know Him to be a loving Father? Those affected may not have the grace and power of the Spirit to be able to forgive and to trust God but they can avoid a downward spiral of blame and resentment. It is easy to point the finger. It is easy to find who is to blame. There might even be some short term satisfaction in seeing those to blame suffer too, somehow. But it does not help the innocent victim of the collapse at all.
The Bible says a lot about judgment - “Vengeance is mine” says the Lord, “I will repay!” (Romans 12:19). We Christians have a certain hope that the Judge of all the Earth will do what is right when He comes at the end of time. Meanwhile, “Do not judge,” Jesus said! (Matthew 7:1-2) It is OK to have opinions, to have disagreements and to be discerning but definitely not to condemn another person’s inner self.
These are all important things but something else is even more important. As Christians we can show kindness and love to people we might know who are affected, and we have the amazing privilege of access to God in prayer. They might not know God as a loving Father. But we can ask Him for help on their behalf.