I caught myself wondering how my boss viewed religion and in particular if he was a Christian. Why? Well, as it turns out, my brain wanted to know that he was a Christian so that I could cut him some extra slack (extend him some grace) because he was a fellow believer. Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I've also caught myself drawing a line in the sand just out of spite for those supervisors that I know don't have Christ in their lives. Isn't that awful? Well, I guess I'm human!
Do you ever do that? Do you ever judge your reaction by what side of the Christianity line your boss or fellow workers fall? Do you size up how you're going to respond to a request by your boss that was raised Catholic but has strayed from actively practicing his religion? How about a new Christian? Do you treat him/her with kid gloves, just because you know where their heart lies? If so, then... welcome to the club!
But, if we're honest with ourselves and if we dive deep into only two verses from the Bible, we'll not only see that we've got to do better - but we're actually told how to do better and why to do better! This is the pure genius of scripture - it's always there to get us going in the right direction again!
Let's take a quick second and look at 1 Timothy 6:1-2. In these passages, Paul provides a clear understanding of how we should behave and why we should behave that way. Then, at the end, he gives us the Cliff's Notes version that anyone could latch onto.
The 2 Reasons Why Our Bosses Deserve Respect
- Paul says that our bosses deserve respect even if they don't believe what we believe. Not just "because", but in protection of God's reputation. We're told to honor the leadership structure that God has delivered to our offices or jobs. We're then told that when we don't we undermine God's own credibility. We are to respect our boss because it reflects God's respect for His creation and the situation that He has crafted.
- The second reason Paul gives for use to respect our bosses, is that they are brethren (if they are Christian). This means that since they inherit the same promise we inherit and their role in the Body of Christ is essential - then they deserve our respect.
There is equal respect here for the believer and the unbeliever, but for completely different reasons. We can no longer argue that our Christian brothers and sisters deserve more respect than those that don't yet believe. But, Paul doesn't stop at the "why", he does provide the "how" too.
The 2 Ways to Display Your Faith at Work
The last sentence of 1 Timothy 6:2, Paul gives us clear direction on how we must pass along these principles. He says we should "teach" and "preach" these. However, as we get deeper into the nuances of the meaning of these two words, you see that one really means "display through action" and the other says "profess as true". This means that our words and our actions must be congruent to display our faith. Lip service is no longer acceptable, but real action to show respect is paramount.
You Can't Make a Difference Unless You Do Something!
As I was reading this scripture, I was trying to understand what I needed to do (and stop doing) to display my faith in Christ and my understanding of God's worldview daily. So, I came up with a short list for myself and would encourage you to comment below on what works best for you too!
- Stop talking behind my bosses back about things with which I'm not happy
- Be cheerfully obedient in following through with requests/commands as they happen without having to know the reasons why
- Be encouraging in difficult situations
- Be prayerful for my boss to hear God's still small voice as he is making decisions regarding our future
- Protect my boss from the barbs of others because he/she is worthy of respect from me and others
What This Impact Has On the Workplace.
Can you imagine for one moment what work would look like when we realized that our supervisors were being covered in prayer and that others could see our faith in Christ and His power by showing respect for those that others feel are undeserving? The power to change an entire culture comes down to how we deal with one situation at a time. Today, you and I have the opportunity to display our faith without having to drape a crucifix around our necks or put stickers on our cars.