“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love makes up for many of your faults.” — 1 Peter 4:8.
Success is often measured by results. We look at the final score of the big game or the balance of our stock portfolio to measure how successful we have been. In our walks with Jesus, success is measured differently. Success isn’t measured on a monetary gain or the “score.” Spiritual success is measured in the relationships we build with others and how our relationships draw ourselves and others closer to God. Workplace relationships present a whole different challenge. It is easy to feel as though we are being scraped and buffed and ground up as we deal with abrasive coworkers and impossible managers and demanding customers.
We are told in Romans 12:18 to “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” That’s our assignment for our work relationships and all others. It does make it a little more difficult when most of the others in the workplace are operating under a different set of relationship principles, such as: “look out for number one!” and “do what you have to do to get ahead.” There seems little benefit in living at peace with everyone. But as disciples of Jesus Christ, it is our guiding principle.
It is very difficult to change someone especially if they don’t see the need to change. But we can change ourselves. That means that some relationships will never be what we want them to be because the other person is not willing to improve or change. That’s when we have to learn to let go and accept the relationship as it is. However, most relationships can be improved if we work on ourselves and do everything we can to make them better by having a servant’s attitude and a willing heart. Our focus should be on improving the relationship rather than proving that we are right, seeking payback, or putting our ambition ahead of doing what is right.
This means that we can never ask God to change others or help us improve our relationships while we are refusing to take the first step, to do what Scripture clearly puts forth as our responsibility in all of our relationships. Philippians 2:3-4 instructs us to put others first: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
“Thinking of others as better than yourself” will look different in different situations, but ask yourself if you’re willing to put others first–even your difficult coworkers or boss. This attitude change can only come through prayer and through the power of God’s Spirit within us. This has to be a God-thing or it will never be a reality. And it begins, as so much does, by prayer.
- What should you do as a Christian if relationships at work are not where they should be? When do you believe you have done enough?
- What can you do this week to improve your workplace relationships?