How Christians Should Deal with Difficulties in the Workplace
By Sarah Landrum, Crosswalk.com
No matter what kind of job you have, workplace struggles are inevitable. Maybe it feels like you and your colleague will never see eye to eye, or you’ve become frustrated by a boss who seems to think you should work for him 24/7, even if that means regularly taking work home and letting it bleed over into your family or church life.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to respond to these challenges in ways that make us live out values mentioned in the scriptures and personified by Jesus Christ. Keep reading to learn how.
Realize a Person May Not Be Receptive to Your Advice
Perhaps you’ve been at your workplace for a couple of decades and feel you’re well equipped to give tips to someone who has only started at your company recently and is clearly struggling. Even if you have the best intentions about giving helpful advice, the recipient might not take the information well, especially if they aren’t used to assuming a submissive role.
Although it’s a good idea to at least try to dispense advice when you can, a colleague may not receive it with gratitude, which you might find offensive. If that’s the case, remember the words Solomon wrote in Proverbs 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
There are some instances where the Bible teaches it is necessary and right for Christians to correct other Christians, such as when one person is visibly straying from the faith. However, if your colleague does not share your religious beliefs, it’s best to hold your tongue and show grace, despite the person not listening to your advice.
Include Prayer in Stress Management Techniques
Stress management is essential for workplace productivity, and you need to have at least a few go-to activities to tame anxiety and tension. Talking to a trusted friend, writing in a journal or going for a walk are just a few ideas.
You can use prayer to ease stress, too. The 55th chapter of Psalms is just one of numerous places in the Bible that direct us to bring our problems to the Lord and trust that He will sustain us. No problem is too large or small for God to handle, so whether you’re stressed because you woke up a half hour late and are now stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to work or are feeling upset about an upcoming presentation that starts in an hour, take those issues to God.
Confront Wrongdoing Compassionately
Throughout the New Testament, there are memorable stories about how Jesus confronted the religious leaders of the day and tried to shift their mindsets. Because the Son of God went against societal norms in that way, he often encountered incidences of wrongdoing. There is a common theme in them where Jesus confronted the people involved, but always did so compassionately.
Mimic Jesus with your own actions by approaching people humbly and in a nonbiased way as much as possible. For example, know you may have interpreted the situation incorrectly, and even in the case of severe and obvious wrongdoing, it’s still necessary to be aware of a person’s good qualities too.
Biblical passages recommend confronting a person one on one rather than in the presence of others most of the time. If the individual is not receptive to what you say, try again by bringing someone else along for support. You may also need to get the legal system involved, which may mean hiring a lawyer.
Maybe the wrongdoing you suffered was because of negligence on behalf of a colleague. In that case, you may need to seek a personal injury case to cover the hardships endured. It’s wise to speak to a personal injury lawyer and at least get a consultation to understand more about your options and find someone who can help you peacefully resolve the issue.
During that meeting, you can even reference your faith and discuss how you don’t want to tackle the case in a way that’s immensely damaging to the wrongdoer, but cannot tolerate inaction, especially if it involves loss of income or other great hardships. Being a Christian means exercising forgiveness, but not allowing others to get away with substantial harm by sitting idly when you could be doing things to protect your livelihood.
Don’t Get Caught up in Office Gossip
Even if your company only has five employees, it’s almost a given that at least some of them will engage in gossip from time to time. If that happens and it directly affects you, deal with it in ways that match the principles of your faith by resisting the urge to participate. You can never be sure that whatever you say about a person who’s not present won’t reach them somehow.
Also, conduct yourself in a manner that allows you to rise above drama instead of getting trapped in it. People love to have things to talk about at work, and you don’t want your behavior to give them plenty of content for topical chatter. Make your actions and words match. If you’re the subject of gossip, practice the above point and confront the person individually rather than in public.
Maintaining your Christian values at work isn’t easy, especially if many of the people you’re around are not fellow believers. You may even be shunned for some of your moral choices, but despite what people may think, God recognizes the efforts you’re making to act biblically while earning a living. Because of that, you can expect eventual rewards for your earthly conduct when your Heavenly Father calls you home to begin your eternal life in Heaven.
Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer on a mission to change the world and help people live happier, more enriched lives. She is also the founder of the career and happiness site Punched Clocks.
Image courtesy: ©GettyImages/Sanja Radin
Publication date: April 25, 2017