RECONCILING DIFFERENCES AT WORK
Overcoming being offended or mistreated is just a basic life skill. And it’s a basic life skill we need in the workplace.
If I did a survey and asked everyone how many people have been offended or mistreated in the workplace, most of you would probably say, “Yes, it happened to me yesterday / this week.”
Perhaps it’s a co-worker, supervisor or someone you trust. However, it really stings when someone mistreats someone else and at the same time professes to be a Christian.
So here are some simple truths that will help you deal with being mistreated or offended.
- Examine yourself. If you can look in the mirror and look at yourself and deal with your own imperfections, it’s easier for us not to expect perfection in others. My grandmother used to always say “Don’t point at people. When you point at somebody, you should also have three fingers pointed at you.”Another great reminder is the story Christ taught of the importance of taking the beam out of your own eye before you try to take a splinter out of someone else’s.
- Choose not be offended. In the workplace there are so many different types of personalities, which can make it easy for most anyone to get offended. However, when you get offended it’s an issue of the heart. My wife will remind me that a lot of the stuff that irritates us doesn’t really matter. It’s like having multiple children – God never gives you two alike. It could be a bag of trash not being taken out by your child or a room that hasn’t been picked up that can really become an irritation. But we must strive to never let a situation become more important than the relationship.When you’re in a leadership role especially, you can’t always be in a position to allow people to say nice things about you. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 says, “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”As much as my staff loves me, I know they may not always say nice things about me. Oftentimes we get so offended when someone says bad things about us. We simply need to stop, do some self-examination and decide if we’ve done something to offend them as well.
- Learn to forgive even in the workplace. The world’s standard is often “Don’t get mad, get even.” However, Christ raises it to a different level and tells us to ask for forgiveness. Christ says, “If we don’t forgive, our Heavenly Father doesn’t forgive us.” He goes on to say in Matthew 6:14-15 that our Heavenly Father will forgive us (despite our own imperfections) when we forgive.
Here are some other thoughts and questions to take to work today.
What do you do when you wake up one morning and realize you mistreated or hurt someone?
Choose to reconcile immediately. If you offended them in public choose to apologize in public as well.
How do we respond or react when we’re mistreated?
In Matthew 5:43-45 it says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
We should pray for those who mistreat us even when it hurts. God has an expectation that we change the payback cycle and trade evil with good. And when we do that we really confuse the enemy.
How do you reconcile?
In Matthew 18 Christ says, “If your brother trespasses against you tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Typically, the last thing we want to do when someone wrongs us is go straight to them. Instead, we’d rather go to others and talk about how sorry they are. But if we would just go talk to that person in the workplace and talk through misunderstandings it makes a huge difference instead of letting things fester and become worse.
Peter also asked Jesus how many times one should forgive someone and Jesus basically replied by telling him not to keep score. So no matter how many times someone wrongs you, you have to be careful not to keep score.
I want to challenge you today to let this really sink in and let this have a powerful influence in your work.