What does God say about Relationships at Work?
An employee-employer relationship is a tricky thing. What happens when you, the employee, have an issue with your employer? How do you navigate those waters? Or vice versa—an employer has a problem with an employee? The good news is that God has something to say about this:
“… obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ” (Ephesians 6:5, The Message)
“Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government” (1 Peter 2:16-17, The Message)
It comes down to respect. Not even for one another, but mostly showing respect for Christ as our ultimate Master. Whether or not you are interacting with a Christian, your actions as a follower of Jesus are the same: start from a heart of love. The teaching about servants and masters (aka employees and employers) falls right in line with what Jesus taught: Love God, Love People.
When you have a disagreement with someone at work, your first move is a prayer for grace-filled words. Then dig deeper into the problem with questions aimed at getting to the truth, not slinging arrows. Treat everyone, absolutely everyone, with respect that is due to a creation of God, a person of value and worth. Whether you’re the employee or employer, your goal is the same: get to the germ of the problem, rectify it if possible, come back into agreement and move forward.
What happens when you can’t rectify the problem? It may be time to part ways. But even in parting ways, followers of Jesus would respond as Jesus would, from a heart of love.
The premise for both Peter’s and Paul’s instructions is found in the beginning. In the midst of creating everything, God stopped the action to share a central truth about every single person—every person who ever lived or ever will live—whether or not they love God—whether or not they show due respect.
“So God created human beings in his own image.” (Genesis 1:27, NLT)
Genesis 1:27 applies to everyone whether they live by the Word of God or not. People created in the image of God deserve respect due to a highly esteemed person. As in all things, the reason for your fantastic display of love comes back to Jesus. Imagine the impact you’d make on a person who chooses to live apart from God if, when you have a disagreement with them, you respond with high respect and love. Your response to unkind words or actions may seem to go unnoticed and under-appreciated. But, if you will have planted a seed for their salvation, wouldn’t your turmoil have been worth the pain?