So you learned how to survive dealing with people who hate your guts(read about that here), but now you’re realizing you don’t know if you can survive another year dealing with difficult personalities, crazy workloads, and just over all toxic work environments. What’s a gal/guy to do with so much coming against them? And to top it all off God did make work toil as part of the curse from the fall of Adam and Eve, right? Soooo, He should completely understand if you want to throw Sally from accounting under the bus if she pries her nosy self into your love life one more time because you’re stressed. She’s had the wrath of God coming to her for a long time, or so you think. Would God approve though?
Well, you say, people in the Bible didn’t have to deal with these things in their time so what am I, a Christian blogger, to tell you who you should or shouldn’t play patty cake, tit for tat, and back and forth with? That’s where you’re wrong, tons of people in the bible had their fair share of difficult coworkers who were not only nosy busybodies, but would slander them while they were working and attempt to make them stop doing what they were doing. Sure, there was King David who had people who hated the fact that he was appointed as king, Moses who had people who questioned his every move and didn’t always take him seriously, Elijah, who had a woman who targeted him even though he was just doing his job, Nehemiah who was just trying to rebuild God’s wall, Paul, who had to deal with difficult personalities and disputes in the churches he started, but the most famous one of all is Jesus.
“And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.”
Could you imagine having people not only heckle you while you are working, but come against you due to lies, slander, or just no good reason at all? I’m sure some of you can. Jesus’ ministry was His first and only job on earth. The Pharisees and Jesus should have been on the same team since they were all into doing religious work. They were considered His coworkers in a nutshell and there are plenty of times where they not only didn’t take Jesus seriously, by not anointing Him when He came to visit their house(see Luke 7:44-46), but there were also times they pried into His personal life(see John 6: 42-43), noting that He wasn’t from some big wealthy family or city, and scoffed at the fact that He hung with people of what would be considered low character.
They gave Him everything they had to try to humiliate Him, by catching Him off guard with questions, and attempting to defame Him, by calling Him Beelzebub. So, what was Jesus’ secret? What did He do to #dealwithit B].
- He spent time alone with God
- He confronted others when necessary
- He never defended Himself
- He forgave quickly
- He kept on moving
Spending time in prayer: I’ve said this over and over again and won’t stop repeating it. Prayer is important and often helps grow our faith in God, especially during times when dealing with difficult personalities. It can be frustrating to come before God in prayer due to the fact that you might not see results immediately or even at all when dealing with someone who seems set in their ways. However, this should not stop us from relying on God to help us deal with the emotions that come with the job. Time alone with God can also help you reflect on improving on things you might struggle with that might offend others as well. Don’t be afraid to bring your complaints about your job before Him.
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”
Confrontation: I think Christians have the most difficulty doing this step, and will be surprised that Jesus did in fact confront people, multiple times. Jesus confronted the Pharisees when they misquoted the scriptures or did things that did not line up with the scriptures. He also confronted normal people about their sins and lack of faith. He was not afraid to back down from what He knew should be done, even if it meant crowds would get angry at Him or the Pharisees would begin to plot His death. So, if your coworkers or even boss keep stepping out of line, don’t be afraid to confront them about what they are doing in whatever way suits you the best. Just use wisdom when dealing with them. Sometimes God will have you say nothing at all, for whatever reason; sometimes it might be because you’re in the wrong, other times it’s just because God knows they will just become more difficult with you.
“And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way,”
Not focusing on self: It’s difficult to not focus on yourself and your pride when people seem to be doing everything they can to throw you under the bus. However, it’s important to remember Jesus didn’t defend Himself for a reason. He did not want to place Himself over the will of God for His life. He also did not want to count Himself more important than the Father. Often we find ourselves wanted to get back at others or teach them a lesson for doing hurtful things to us. This is the danger of always wanting to defend yourself and focusing on your needs and wants over what God wants and needs to take place. Focusing on yourself too much can make you grow self-important and end up making everything about you to the point where you feel entitled. Eventually you get to the point where you are no longer effective for Christ and instead end up being the person at your job who is the problem.
Jesus didn’t focus on Himself and successfully stayed in the will of the Father, however the Pharisees did focus on their wants and desires to stay in leadership over the Jews. This caused them to feel threatened by Jesus’ ministry, which lead them to plot and scheme against Jesus who was only doing God’s will. If you gotten to the point where you’re plotting and scheming against your coworkers on how to get rid of them or tear them down, sorry to say it but you’re fighting on the wrong team(can anyone say #teamSatan?).
“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Forgiveness: Forgiving is pretty much a no brainer, but I’ll tell how it can be helpful in a work situation. Sometimes in the workplace you have to let things go in order to get the information you need from a difficult person. You need to get work done and you have to deal with this personality to do it, whether you like it or not. Letting things go quickly will help you go to them easier without exercising bias against them and avoiding them. From a biblical stand point, we as Christians are required to forgive especially if the person asks for forgiveness.
“When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals, one on His right and the other on His left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His garments by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers sneered at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”…”
Move ownward: One thing Jesus did was keep it moving. As spoken in my ‘Feeling Defeated’ blog, Jesus didn’t let adversity or difficult personalities stop Him from His ultimate goal and mission. He kept pressing onward, so that He could get the job done. You can’t really fully walk properly in forgiveness if you don’t move forward with your life. This step will help you to not wallow in bitterness and unforgiveness. Choose to forgive and with God’s help continue to take the steps necessary to walk in it. It’s a difficult thing to do when you see these people almost every single day, so don’t be upset if this step is hard for you. Fight against your flesh and feelings.
As I said, Jesus had an ultimate goal. He had something that He could fixate on. If the current job you’re at is your goal and you found that you hate it and don’t really want it, focus in your prayer time with God on thinking up a different goal. Ask yourself and God: why don’t you like where you’re currently at? If you enjoy the job, but hate the people, ask God how can you deal with and get along with these personalities. Situations like these are good places to learn more about yourself and redirect your focus to something that’s worth working for in you and God’s eyes. Maybe God is using this job to mold you into who He needs you to be. Maybe God wants you in a different field all together and the adversity that’s at your current job is there just to get you motivated and wanting to move in a different direction. Maybe people are just jerks, and God wants you to learn how to not be bothered too badly by them. You won’t really know until you spend time with God. Realize that if sin is left in your heart it can make it difficult to speak with God and get a clear answer, which is why the step of forgiveness is important.
Remember that God knows every single person that you are working with, whether they are a believer or nonbeliever. He knows what they’re going through currently. He knows their likes and dislikes. He also knows what leadership or thought process they respond best to. God knows how to manage the worst of the worst and convince the most stubborn of hearts into His will, so if anyone is the One that you should ask for advice, it would be Him. Being able to be led by the Spirit and hear God’s voice is very beneficial when dealing with those you find difficult. I’m not saying it will make your relationship with them 100% perfect, but it will help you to know that looks can be deceiving and certain personality traits that people are exhibiting may just be a wall they’re putting up. Ask God to instruct you on how to deal with certain personalities you find more difficult or one’s you just don’t understand. He will help you. Be led by God and be blessed.