God in the Workplace – Part 2 | 4 ways to walk with God with co-workers

How does a relationship with God show up in the workplace? How can our walk with God be revealed in our interactions with co-workers? 🤔 Let's discuss!

Most of us spend anywhere from 4 to 8 hours a day and up to 40 hours a week in our workplace. While some of us work alone, most of us work with other co-workers. We are taught to love our neighbor and we fellowship with others in our churches. Is there an opportunity to walk with God in our relationships with co-workers in the workplace?

Welcome to part 2 of a 2 part series where we talk about God in the Workplace.  If this is your first time reading an article in this series I encourage you to also also read God in the Workplace – Part 1 where I talk about 4 ways to prepare your heart, mind and spirit to walk with God over the course of your workday.

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In this article, I’d like to talk about 4 ways that our walk with God can be revealed in our interaction with co-workers. 

One of the most powerful things we can do in our workplace is to align ourselves with God in our mannerisms, our words and our actions.  Inevitably, as we align our hearts and minds with God our co-workers will take notice.  As our co-workers take notice, there is an opportunity for them to see God’s light shining through us.  Shining through you..  Allowing God’s light to shine through you allows you to be a light for others around you. 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

– Matthew 5:16

Let’s dive into 4 tangible ways we can walk with God in our interactions with co-workers.

I am going to intentionally start with what is typically among the most difficult things to do.

#1 Pray for those who stand against you

Most of us have experienced co-workers who intentionally stand against you.  They may speak of you poorly behind your back.  They may go out of their way to make your work more difficult than it needs to be.  They may try to put obstacles in the way of your path to increase and promotion (of course, not realizing that God is ordering your steps in the workplace). They may be very open about the fact that they simply don’t like you.

God asks us to love our enemies.  We are only human.  It can be difficult to show love to someone that goes out of their way to make things difficult for you or dismiss your worth.

It can be difficult to show love to someone that goes out of their way to make things difficult for you or dismiss your worth.

In these circumstances, while we may not know the best thing to do or say to this individual, we must remember that the Holy Spirit knows exactly what to do.  We trust that God knows the individual down to the number of hairs on their head.  

So, let us pray for the individual that stands against you.  Pray for God to touch their heart.  Pray that they will have peace and that God will provide a path for them to turn away from wrongdoing against you.

And of course, we must also find it on our hearts to forgive, even if it seems they do not deserve forgiveness.

#2 Show forgiveness and grace

So the individual who stands against you has actually done something to damage your credibility.  The individual has insulted you or humiliated you in front of other co-workers.  The individual has done something that increases your workload or makes it difficult or even impossible for you to be successful.

In these situations, it can be very easy to be tempted into revenge.  We can be tempted to respond in kind to the individual, doing something to harm their credibility in return or doing an act that will make it difficult or even impossible for them to be successful.

We must resist this temptation, even if we must ask God for strength.

In these circumstances, I encourage you to forgive.  I encourage you to show grace.

In the face of obvious adversity against you, grace and forgiveness has the power to disrupt the flow of destruction in its tracks.  You see, the world glorifies vengeance and retribution.  These reactions are typical and common and glorified in movies and television, music and theatre.

I want to encourage you to be uncommon in the face of wrongdoing against you.  Forgive those who have wronged you. Show grace to those who have caused you stress and difficulty.

Often, your reaction (or -lack- of reaction) will have a profound effect on the individual that wronged you and may even turn their ways to be closer to God’s will for them.

#3 Resist the temptation to follow the status quo

Tell me if this has happened to you.  

You and your co-workers go out for lunch.  You have not been together in about a week, so naturally one by one you each start giving an update.

Your co-worker starts talking about the new hire that started earlier this week.  They talk about the new-hire’s physical attributes in a way that would be totally inappropriate in the workplace and disrespectful and immoral in general.  They go on to talk about all the things they would do to them if they were intimate.  

Another co-worker starts saying very negative things about the boss of the company.  Calling the boss names and playfully referring to acts of violence they would do to the boss if they could to get revenge for making them work so hard.

Yet another co-worker starts a profanity laden description of their time with family at a recent wedding.  Using colorful words to describe family members, insulting individuals in the process.

Everyone has spoken but you. The co-workers look at you for your update. What do you say?  

It is easy to see how it may feel uncomfortable to not ‘go with the flow’, speaking ill of someone, using profanity to describe everyday events or chiming in on the physical attributes of the new hire.

I say the most powerful thing you can do in this moment, is to remain in the light of God, allowing the light that lives in you to be seen.  How will it be seen, by what you don’t do.  When you use your words, utter not a single word of profanity or a single word that speaks ill of another individual.  

I say the most powerful thing you can do in this moment, is to remain in the light of God, allowing the light that lives in you to be seen. How will it be seen, by what you don’t do.

Speak about the pleasant chat you had with the new hire and how kind they were.  Share a moment you had with the boss where he or she gave a very large tip to a waiter who had just shared they are saving up for their child’s college education.  Speak about the joy it is to be a parent of a young child and watching the kids interact with a new puzzle. Even if it is not spoken out loud, your coworkers will notice that you did not follow their lead.

In these situations, I invite you to disrupt the status quo.  Represent the light of God. Do not allow yourself to go along with how the world does things.  If you do this consistently, it will have a profound effect on others and may even bring others closer to God.

#4 Show kindness and compassion

In a busy work environment it can become very easy to become stressed.  Deadlines, last minute changes to a project, long meetings.

All of these things can be difficult for anyone to cope on a day to day basis.  As I mentioned in part 1 of this series, walking with God and praying throughout your work day is one way to equip yourself with the fortitude to maneuver through difficulties in the workplace.

Along the path of your day, you may observe that someone is having a difficult time.  Perhaps a co-worker in your team or in a different team entirely.

Perhaps you have observed that their performance is lower than the others.  Perhaps you have heard people speaking poorly of the quality of their work.  Perhaps you have heard people gossiping and revealing things that should not be spoken, but provide reasons as to the person’s mood or behavior.

If you come across a co-worker that could use kindness and compassion, ask God to equip you to approach the individual.  Ask God to bless the opportunity you have to connect with the individual, especially if they are shunned or ridiculed by others.

Being a light to co-workers is not just for those who seem to have it all together, but also for those who are in need of kindness. 

If you witness a co-worker having a difficult time, express a word of kindness to them.  Remark to them that you hope they have a good day.  Provide a compliment or a word of encouragement.  Depending on how well you know them, perhaps you offer to ask how you can support them.  Perhaps you even ask how you can pray for them.

I can’t express this enough, in these cases – ask God to show you how to speak to this individual. Allow God to use you as a vessel to reach this individual. Be patient and allow God to order the individual steps to intersect with yours and then trust the Holy Spirit to guide you in your communication. 

Kindness has a way of breaking through clouds of darkness.  Shining the light that lives in you upon others in need gives glory to God and His equipping you with the tools to bring others closer to Him as well.

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