I originally thought about putting the word “react” in the title. But based on what I’ve learned in our bible study group, there’s a difference between “respond” and “react.” In a situation, when you choose to react, emotions come into play first. Whereas with responding, you think and analyze first what is the situation on hand then that’s when you act. The former is usually regarded as negative and the latter as positive.
Too often we neglect responding when driven towards tight and tense situations. I must admit there are times wherein I reacted with anger and we all know what happened next – more consequences came along with it. Yes, reacting ends with regretting.
When I became a Christian, I have learned so much about self-control and discipline. It applies on all – the way I speak, the way I think, the way I act, and even with the way I decide. I cannot say I’ve done it perfectly now but it was a long grueling process of transformation. I am not sure if you’ll believe me when I say that before I got saved I am a cynic. Sarcasm’s my favorite language.
A person from my past once told me, “Tin, you don’t need a knife or any weapon to kill someone. Your words are enough.” At that time, I glorified in it. Yes, it gives me that sense of power when you crush someone’s ego and pride.
But my sarcasm ended there when part of my spiritual transformation involved I, myself, experience how it feels to be on the other end – the recipient of that sarcasm. That’s how I learned that God indeed punishes as part of His disciplinary actions as a Father to make His children better. So I’ve learned how painful it is. Only then did I realize I needed to change it completely.
Changing is hard if you’re doing it alone. You cannot change if you don’t know why you need to change and what is it that needs changing. When I was starting to immerse myself in the Bible back in 2013, I have found everything I needed to help me with the transformation – letting go of the old self and ushering in the new one.
You will find in the bible everything about forgiveness, about unconditional love, patience, understanding, gentleness, about not retaliating and so much more. So I got to say to myself that indeed, these are what it takes to learn them.
I am at this age (31) where I have been in different work settings since I started as a working professional back in 2008. I have seen the different work cultures and the diverse people I have worked with. I have also heard stories upon stories about their ordeal in the workplace and the struggle of having to live with those challenges day by day.
I have observed how crab mentality, favoritism, abuse of authority, wrong accusations, taking the blame for someone else’s mistake, bullying, and persecution are all present in every workplace. The workplace showcases the complexities of the human behavior which we have no control over and why there is a need for Christians to be the “salt and light” and set Christlike examples.
If we are to react in all the situations I have given, these are what will come out – irritability, anger, bitterness, hatred, and retaliation. I am sure you will agree with me there. That’s perfectly understandable – part of our fallen nature as a man is being corrupted with sinfulness such as greed, envy, jealousy, hunger for power, discontentment, rage, and all other sins. These are the same reasons why Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.
And yet, those sins are part of what the Cross is for which is also part of our own crosses that we have to carry each day. But because Jesus already paid a price for those sins, we should claim free and uncorrupted lives.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
So what does God require of us now? Instead of retaliating, leave it all to God. I have long learned that we do not have the power to change people. In the same way that it was only God who helped me change, the same goes for others. Instead, what He instructed us to do is to lord it over to Him all these things and pray for others.
Instead of letting bitterness and anger take the best out of you and make your life miserable, choose to forgive. This way you’ll also learn to empathize with people. You’ll learn to understand why they have so much anger on you, why they are behaving that way or why they’ve done this to you.
Maybe they went through the same thing and their anger made them into the person that they hated. Maybe they are having relational problems at home. Maybe they are depressed. We really don’t know the reason why but only God sees the hearts of each and every one of us. He knows and sees everything so take heart in that too. Do not fear these people even. As God says,
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” – Proverbs 29:25
Don’t take it personally either. Why? If they haven’t been saved, we all know they are still under the stronghold of the enemy. They don’t know anything yet about the loving grace of God and how great His love is. So maybe that is the reason why God put us there so we could show them that.
Forgive and do not retaliate….answer with gentleness…submit to authority…follow without grumbling…and so on and so forth.
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” – Philippians 2: 14-16
I have seen numerous cases wherein when you leave everything to God, God always acts and would do something about it. He is the ultimate judge so to speak and has the ultimate power to do everything. In the same way that I have been disciplined for my wrongdoings, the same goes for those who have wronged others. I do not glorify in it because I also felt how painful it was when God disciplined me. However, I am grateful because I know this will be the start of a new chance for a new life for them too.
For the record, I am grateful to God I am working with a great team. Yes, it is not a perfect team but I appreciate all my supervisors’ work and the effort of the rest of the team members to work cooperatively despite our different backgrounds. I have no assurance it will stay this way forever but as always, it is in my prayers.
But for those who are going through the opposite right now, always believe in your heart God did not put you there for no reason. He has a very good reason why you have to be exactly where you are now. It might be painful but the best way to respond to it is to pray and ask God this:
“Father, what do you want me to learn from this adversity/season/trial?”
Then ask Him to lead you and your ways so you won’t go astray, you won’t be tempted, and you won’t fall to committing any sin and face the consequences.
I will end this article with a bible passage and I hope it will encourage you to fight the good fight of faith may it be in the workplace or anywhere else that He has called you to be.
Lastly, always pray not just for yourself but for the people around you too. ❤
Have the Attitude of Christ
“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
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.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,[a]
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
he took the humble position of a slave[c]
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Shine Brightly for Christ
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”
– Philippians 2:1-18
If after seeking for God’s help God has told you to leave a toxic company and all the negativity around it, it is best to take heed. Remember, it is not your boss who gave you your job, he was just used by God as an instrument for you to get that job. Bottomline is that, if God takes away that job from you, most likely He’ll give you another one according to His plans in His right time. 🙂
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11