…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Recently, was sharing and praying with 2 friends experiencing unexpected challenges to their work, due to office politics.
I’m sure all of us have had our fair share of work challenges, unexpected roadblocks and unreasonable behavior. Its certainly not easy to focus on our work, when those around us behave in a less than professional, objective or transparent way.
In such situations, we either say,
“I am a Christian and I believe the Bible and all that,
…. but this is business !”
or listen to Jesus,
Matthew 10:16 (NLT)
Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.
So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.
Being shrewd & harmless ….
Let’s consider some Biblical examples, and end with a heartfelt prayer from Psalms. Along the way, will share some practical ways to handle office politics or conflicts.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
Psalms 116:2 (NASB)
Imagine, thrown into a den of hungry ferocious lions poised to pounce & shred … with no way out. One moment, on top of the world in the boardroom … next moment, a villian stuck in a life-threatening pit.
Daniel was cast into a such a situation. His colleagues were envious of his excellent work, and great favor with the boss.
Daniel 6:3,4 (NKJV)
3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.
Daniel was blameless, trustworthy, faithful, and highly competent in his work. He was also in line for a major promotion.
Just prior to this, Daniel was under the Chaldean management, and now he was under the Medes.
Daniel 5:29-31, 6:1-2 (NKJV)
29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.
30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss.
In God’s plans, Daniel survived the hostile company takeover, re-structuring and assasination. God preserved Daniel’s position for His purposes
Daniel 6:6,7 (NKJV)
5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
6 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
A devious plan was hatched against Daniel to halt his rapid rise. His colleagues instigated the boss. As they could not attack his excellent work, they stealthly attacked him personally … to physically eliminate him.
Daniel 6:10 (NKJV)
10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem,
he knelt down on his knees three times that day,
and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
Psalm 55:16-19 (NIV)
16 As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God,
Daniel was one of three governors of the land.
In spite of the 30-day prayer ban, and the real threat to his life, …
Daniel’s response was to trust God, pray and give thanks to God – his daily routine. Trusting that the Lord who had strategically positioned him, would secure him.
Daniel brought his challenges to the Lord.
Daniel prayed and
gave thanks to God
Daniel 6: 11, 16 (NKJV)
11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.
16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”
Daniel was charged with breaking the king’s decree, stripped of his high position and thrown into the lions den. Daniel was innocent. He was unjustly displaced not for failure to deliver his work … but his faith in the Lord.
Psalm 17:8-12 (NIV)
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.
10 They close up their callous hearts,
and their mouths speak with arrogance.
11 They have tracked me down, they now surround me,
with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion hungry for prey,
like a fierce lion crouching in cover.
Interestingly, Daniel’s life and testimony at his workplace was so compelling, that even his boss expressed confidence in Daniel’s God to deliver him
… “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”
O, may the Lord help us be like Daniel at our offices … and shine for Christ.
Through Daniel faithfulness, King Darius saw that Daniel’s God was not safely tucked away in a book or a building, but tangibly powerful, awesome and real in Daniel’s life in the marketplace, …. public square …. and the corridors of power.
Daniel 6:19-22 (NKJV)
19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel.
The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”
God was with Daniel and vindicated him. Miraculously, God protected him, he was not hurt by the lions at all. God still had plans for Daniel on earth.
Daniel 6:25,26 (NKJV)
25 Then King Darius wrote:
To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.
As a result, God was glorified, and the king (boss) had a tangible experience with God which he openly shared with his kingdom.
Daniel experienced betrayal, false accusation, humiliation and real danger to his life.
Daniel was delivered because he trusted God. He put his life on the line for his faith in God.
Daniel prospered, without compromising his faith in God, & his principles.
Daniel 6:23 (NASB)
23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
.. because he had
trusted in his God
As a result of honoring God, God honored and prospered Daniel in his work.
Daniel 6:28 (NASB)
28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Psalm 75:6,7 (KJV)
6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
As a consequence of God’s vindication & justice, those with selfish ambition in the king’s management team were purged, and the king got a better management team. The lion’s den prepared for Daniel, became the fate of his accusers.
Daniel 6:24 (NKJV)
And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.
Psalm 135:13,14 (NIV)
13 Your name, Lord, endures forever,
your renown, Lord, through all generations.
14 For the Lord will vindicate his people
and have compassion on his servants.
(This account is silent whether Daniel asserted rights/freedoms.
Instead it points to prayer as the key.)
Here’s some verses that reflect the God of Daniel,
Psalm 118:13, 14 (NASB)
13 You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
Psalm 7:10,15,16 (NIV)
10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.
15 Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out
falls into the pit they have made.
16 The trouble they cause recoils on them;
their violence comes down on their own heads.
Psalm 57:2-6 (NIV)
2 I cry out to God Most High,
to God, who vindicates me.
3 He sends from heaven and saves me,
rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
4 I am in the midst of lions;
I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
6 They spread a net for my feet—
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
but they have fallen into it themselves.
Genesis 15:1 (NKJV)
After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
Psalm 40:4 (NASB)
How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
Its good for us to keep in mind, whatever happens,
the Lord says Do not be afraid,
I am your shield,
your exceedingly great reward
The Lord is our trust.
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You
Psalm 56:3 (NASB)
And, following Daniel’s trust in the Lord,
6 Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You
in a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
7 You are my hiding place;
You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
Psalm 32:6-8 (NASB)
For another account in the corridors of power,
in the book of Esther,
God’s ‘turned the tables‘, vindicated the unassuming Mordecai
against the vindictive and narcissistic Haman.
Here’s how Haman is first introduced,
Esther 2:21-3:1,2 (NIV)
21 During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.
22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai.
Mordecai uncovered an assassination plot against the king.
23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true,
the two officials were impaled on poles.
All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.
The two suspects were tried, and found guilty,
the assassination was averted, saving the king.
After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles.
Haman was somehow promoted.
While Mordecai, … silence.
Mordecai’s recognition only came much, much later (Esther 6:1,2),
somehow, it came on a night when the king could not sleep.
Read on for the rest of the story in Esther …. how God ‘turned the tables’
Nehemiah also encountered a series of deceptive schemes and roadblocks which threatened to halt his project – re-building the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah saw these schemes/threats as attempts to intimidate him and his team into fear, hoping they’ll abandon the project, and give up.
As they prayed to the Lord,
the Lord intervened on their behalf,
Nehemiah 4:15 (NIV)
When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot
and that God had frustrated it,
we all returned to the wall, each to our own work.
so that Nehemiah’s team could focus on completing their work.
Nehemiah 6:9 (NKJV)
9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying,
“Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.”
Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.
Nehemiah prayed for God to give him tenacious strength.
A quick, short prayer in the heat of the moment.
Its always good for us to remind ourselves, … raise our shield of faith with the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, … and proclaim His Word,
For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
As a result of God’s help and Nehemiah’s perserverance,
the project was completed in record time,
God was glorified & honored!
Nehemiah 6:15,16 (NASB)
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. 16 When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.
Like Daniel’s case, others saw and acknowledged the hand of God.
Nehemiah’s project was birth in prayer (Nehemiah 1), which brought miraculous provision and resources. The large construction project was sustained by prayer, wise planning and skillful timely execution by a supportive/motivated team.
The project was completed in record time – 52 days.
this work had been accomplished with the help of our God
Its helpful to also study David‘s experience on the run from Saul, and Paul‘s journey in fending off continuous persecution, harassment and bullying by the religious leaders.
At Lystra, Paul was stoned to almost death, but God miraculously healed him.
At Damascus, Lystra and Derbe, Paul fled, like David.
At Philippi, Paul used his status as a Roman citizen, and stood his ground.
Finally in Acts 25, he appealed to Caesar regarding the false charges brought against him … he did not flee.
Paul wisely used his status as a Roman citizen, and the laws of the land to protect himself. In our places of work, there are polices, processes, governance, audit procedures and escalation paths that exist to support the integrity of everyone’s work.
Hence, its wise for us to pray to the Lord to give us wisdom on how to deal with our office situations so that we can honor him at work, … and also the patient perserverance to wait for His times and seasons.
Sometimes, the Lord may lead us to just walk away.
Some conflicts are distractions or trivial, just not worth fighting for.
Agree to disagree, … and move on.
Some situations/projects are like eggs with hairline cracks, waiting to burst in one’s hand.
Whatever happens, focus on delivering consistent quality professional honest work. Pray, trust God to resolve matters on our behalf. He is faithful.
As for me,
You uphold me in my integrity,
And You set me in Your presence forever.
Psalm 41:12 (NIV)
Psalm 17:2,8,9,15 (NIV)
Let my vindication come from you;
may your eyes see what is right.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings
9 from the wicked who are out to destroy me,
from my mortal enemies who surround me.
15 As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;
The Lord is our shield, our refuge who upholds & restores us.
Like Daniel, in the worst of situations, our vindication comes from the Lord. Trust Him. Amen!
Psalm 37:23,24 (NKJV)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
Proverbs 24:15 (NIV)
for though the righteous fall seven times,
they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
When we are faced with an unfair, unjust situation at work, let’s also be comforted and encouraged by Jacob.
After Jacob worked faithfully for 20 years under his deceptive father-in-law & uncle, Laban, Jacob finally left Laban.
(note: 20 years!)
Here’s his “exit” interview:
Genesis 31:26-29, 36-42 (NKJV)
26 And Laban said to Jacob: “…. 27 Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? 28 And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing.
29 It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’
36 …. Jacob answered and said to Laban: “…. 38 These twenty years I have been with you; your ewes and your female goats have not miscarried their young, and I have not eaten the rams of your flock. 39 That which was torn by beasts I did not bring to you; I bore the loss of it. You required it from my hand, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 There I was! In the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night, and my sleep departed from my eyes.41 Thus I have been in your house twenty years; I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times.
42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God has seen my affliction and the labor of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”
In the twenty years, Jacob remained faithful & honest in his work;
he even bore the loss of lost animals of Laban.
Jacob honored the Lord,
earning a good record,
in spite of the difficulties he faced.
A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
God saw Jacob’s affliction.
In God’s time … God, Himself rebuked Laban.
In spite of Laban changing Jacob’s wages 10 times,
God prospered Jacob …
(here’s the last verse of the preceding chapter in Genesis about Jacob’s life)
Genesis 30:43 (NKJV)
43 Thus the man (Jacob) became exceedingly prosperous, and had large flocks, female and male servants, and camels and donkeys.
Yes, agree … all this prosperity and vindication sounds great to our ears …
However … we should also note that during Jacob’s time under Laban,
through his real-life situations/challenges,
God used someone deceptive to shape Jacob’s character …
increase Jacob’s faith, trust and understanding of the Lord,
… moving him from being a supplanter to a receiver of God’s grace.
Hence, soon after, his exit interview with Laban,
Jacob was ready and humble
for the Lord to change his name from
Jacob (‘supplanter’) to Israel (‘God prevails; he will rule as God’)
… ready to walk into the greater things of God
of what God has in store for him.
Ultimately, the Lord is the one we are working for,
He is our boss, our faithful boss;
who has bought us, who sacrificed His life for us, who love us.
Colossians 3:23,24 (NIV)
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Here’s a business example,
Turn the other cheek – A businessman’s experience (click here)
In David‘s case, his boss, Saul had personal insecurities and self-worth issues.
As David grew in popularity and success,
Saul grew jealous, and began to see David as a rival to his position,
which finally drove Saul to relentlessly pursue to eliminate, i.e. kill David.
This caused David to flee from Saul.
Twice, David had opportunity to take justice in his own hands (1 Samuel 24 & 26).
Thankfully, David did not.
Here’s what David said to Saul in the second time,
“… 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand!
I cut off the corner of your robe
but did not kill you.
See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion.
I have not wronged you,
but you are hunting me down to take my life.
12 May the Lord judge between you and me.
And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me,
but my hand will not touch you.
13 As the old saying goes,
‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’
so my hand will not touch you.”
1 Samuel 26:11-13 (NIV)
David chose to be the better man.
Not to react in the same manner that Saul acted.
In spite of everything that happened, David chose to respect Saul,
honor and trust God.
my hand will not touch you
Hence, following the example of David,
in whatever situations we face, let’s be strengthened by Him to follow His golden rule,
Luke 6:31(NASB, MSG)
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them!
Treat everyone with honor, dignity & respect.
Build bridges, … we never know, when we may have to revisit these bridges again later.
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends,
but leave room for God’s wrath,
for it is written:
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:19-21 (NIV)
Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Paul was in prison for the gospel, when he wrote this passage to remind us not to be anxious, but bring every situation to God in prayer. By praying we receive His supernatural peace in the midst of the storm. This peace also helps us to think clearly, not clouded by mixed emotions.
Let’s gird ourselves with the belt of Truth,
whatever things are true, … whatever things are just … meditate on these things. In the midst of a charged confrontation or an unexpected roadblock, we sometimes can be so defensive of our actions/position, that we fail to listen to what is being communicated to us. Hence, its good to objectively & honestly review what is being communicated by our colleagues/bosses. Keep an open ear & mind. Its worthwhile to consider whether there are elements that are factually just and true in what they are sharing with us. None of us are perfect; we have blindspots. Try not take things personally with God’s help; not easy though, when our ideas are torn to bits in a meeting.
Are we open to learn, change, improve? Is God working on our character or attitudes through the office situation?
Always check ourselves … are we at fault in some way?
If we are, let’s apologise early, act accordingly swiftly, and move on peacefully.
We live and work in a diverse workplace,
avoid putting our so called “christian standards/values” upon others around us,
let’s respect others who are different.
One more check, before we respond,
how big is the impact/cost of what happened ?
Is it just our bruised pride?
James 1:19 (AMP)
Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
slow to take offense
Let’s listen to Abigail’s intercession to David, when David felt insulted by Nabal’s ungratefulness, pride, and refusal to assist David.
Abigail quickly approached David when David was on his way to execute his own vengeance on Nabal, her husband,
1 Samuel 25:3,24-31, 36-38 (NIV)
3 His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband was surly and mean in his dealings—he was a Calebite.
Abigail fell at David’s feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you.
28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. …”
This was what happened to Nabal in the end,
36 When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing at all until daybreak. 37 Then in the morning, when Nabal was sober, his wife told him all these things, and his heart failed him and he became like a stone.38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died.
Moving on ….
If the other party is at fault, respectfully inform them privately, … and if it fails, escalate through mediation and arbitration (Matthew 18:15-17). Give the other party space and time to explain their position. If required, set some boundaries.
Remember, we’ve been given a ministry of reconcilation (2 Corinthians 5:18).
** Be fair, graceful & patient, Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (2 Corinthians 13:1). Is it a lapse or a habit?
** Are there work-arounds, alternatives, or win-win compromises we can work towards?
** Is the other party unfamiliar with our approach? Perhaps we need to spend sometime educating and evangelising. Try a different approach?
** Was our original message poorly framed, or filled with technical jargon or missed some prior information? Sometimes, our unclear or unstructured sharings confuse people, create misunderstandings.
** Is this caused by a missing process, policy or ambiguous roles/responsibility?
** Did someone else in the project missed something?
** What is the benefit they will receive if they coorperate?
** Bad timing?
** As none of us are mind readers, … judge actions not intentions.
** Work style differences and adjustments? More so in newly formed teams or addition of new team members.
** Is everyone empowered at the right level to decide and execute?
** Is one positioned for success or failure?
** Mis-matched or assumed expectations?
** Different cultural norms in communications, or nuanced meaning of words?
** Clarify with the other party what they really heard from us, …. sometimes they may have mis-heard, or were distracted.
(see Nehemiah’s response of the roadblocks thrown at him in the book of Nehemiah).
Whatever happens, stick objectively to facts, data, results of events/actions.
Control our tone and emotions when communicating.
Through our tone/emotions, people can hear our heart louder than our words,
i.e.’I hear he’s saying this thing, … but his tone, body language tells me he’s saying something else.’
Check ourselves if in what we are saying are we adding more fuel to the fire?
Pause … calm down … have a clear mind … first,
before speaking or responding.
In the heat of the moment, …. it may be wise to stop, and re-schedule another meeting, in case we say things we later may regret.
If possible, imagine the other person’s perspective.
We’re all different — coming from different backgrounds, work environments, training, experiences (positive & negative), etc.
Have a servant heart to serve others.
Avoid hearsays, blame, generalisations, speculative detours, divisive opinions, viral gossips. Ignore emotional responses. When in doubt, always clarify.
Focus on the core issue in the light of organisational or project goals/objectives/values.
In a challenging discussion, listen intently, build bridges, strive to understand the other party, … be patient, restrain from interrupting their sharing with “but …. ” or “no … “, courteously allow them to complete their sharing. At key moments, summarise their sharing back to them to confirm we’ve understood, then share our concerns/views.
James 1:19 (NLV, AMP)
My Christian brothers, you know everyone should listen much and speak little. He should be slow to become angry.
Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be
quick to hear [a ready listener],
slow to speak,
slow to take offense
and to get angry.
For anything new, it takes time for others to consider, ponder and understand, hence, patience on our part.
Perhaps, through iron sharpening iron in disagreements, … we’ll be led to better solutions and positive outcomes for the project or company.
Through humilty, disagreements may be constructive, enriching and positive, … as long as we are open to listen & learn from others.
Let’s remember, … no one is perfect,
Wasn’t it David, ‘a man after God’s own heart‘,
who engineered Uriah the Hittite, his loyal subordinate’s demise, by positioning him for failure? (see 2 Samuel 11)
A good prayer to follow is the Lord’s prayer,
or some call it the disciple’s prayer.
Matthew 6:12,13 (NKJV)
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. Let’s put on the breastplate of Righteousness and get ourselves right with God. It is always good to examine ourselves and ask God to forgive our failures. Similarly, we need to continually forgive our colleagues/bosses for their actions/words against us. Forgiveness prevents wounds from festering into a root of bitterness in our hearts, a negative spirit, which hinders God from answering our prayers. Hence, don’t take the office conflict personally, but treat everyone with honor, respect and dignity.
Forgiveness is the starting point.
Hebrews 12:15 (NASB)
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Matthew 18:21,22 (NIV)
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Like Jacob’s case with Laban, its good to prayerfully consider in what way God is moulding our hearts and character to be more like Jesus, through the situation and circumstances we are facing.
But now, O Lord,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all we are the work of Your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 (NKJV)
Looking unto Jesus,
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22 who committed no sin,
nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return;
while suffering, He uttered no threats,
but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
1 Peter 2:21-23 (NASB)
Back to the disciple’s prayer,
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
It is important to remember, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against evil spirits who instigate evil schemes (Ephesians 6:12), that attempt to hinder us, tempt us to sin in thoughts/actions, or stir fear/intimidation in hearts.
John 10:10 (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Hence, we ask God to give us strength to overcome the temptation to sin, deliver us from the evil one by binding his work/influence with the authority of Jesus name .
Matthew 16:19; 12: 28,29; 6:10 (NKJV)
19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. With God’s strength, we overcome fear, anger, etc, … by focusing on His kingdom and His great awesome power, …. His greater plans and purposes.
He is in control.
Our prayer is the Lord receives the maximum glory in the midst of whatever office situation we are facing, … just like Daniel & Nehemiah. Amen.
Romans 12:12,14,17-21 (NASB)
12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Peter 3:9, 13-17; 2:12 (NIV)
9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?
14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
.. found a Psalm prayer that captures being caught in the den of office politics. Though written a long time ago, it still rings so true in our high tech age.
Psalm 31 (NASB)
In You, O Lord, I have taken refuge;
Let me never be ashamed;
In Your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly;
Be to me a rock of strength,
A stronghold to save me.
3 For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
4 You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me,
For You are my strength.
5 Into Your hand I commit my spirit;
You have ransomed me, O Lord, God of truth.
6 I hate those who regard vain idols,
But I trust in the Lord.
7 I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
Because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the troubles of my soul,
8 And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy;
You have set my feet in a large place.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.
11 Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.
17 Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I call upon You;
Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.
18 Let the lying lips be mute,
Which speak arrogantly against the righteous
With pride and contempt.
19 How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
20 You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
21 Blessed be the Lord,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.
22 As for me, I said in my alarm,
“I am cut off from before Your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
23 O love the Lord, all you His godly ones!
The Lord preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
24 Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the Lord.
Here’s The Message version, … I like its candid, heartfelt raw honesty,
Psalm 31 (MSG)
1-2 I run to you, God; I run for dear life.
Don’t let me down!
Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen,
and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,
your high cliff aerie a place of safety.
3-5 You’re my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down.
6-13 I hate all this silly religion,
but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
you saw my pain,
you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
but gave me room to breathe.
Be kind to me, God—
I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;
I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;
my years fade out in sighs.
My troubles have worn me out,
turned my bones to powder.
To my enemies I’m a monster;
I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.
My friends are horrified;
they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,
forget me like a corpse in a grave,
discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
The street-talk gossip has me
Behind locked doors they plot
how to ruin me for good.
14-18 Desperate, I throw myself on you:
you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,
safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile;
save me because you love me.
Don’t embarrass me by not showing up;
I’ve given you plenty of notice.
Embarrass the wicked, stand them up,
leave them stupidly shaking their heads
as they drift down to hell.
Gag those loudmouthed liars
who heckle me, your follower,
with jeers and catcalls.
19-22 What a stack of blessing you have piled up
for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
to escape an unkind world.
You hide them safely away
from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,
you silence the poisonous gossip.
His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, I panicked.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” I said.
But you heard me say it,
you heard and listened.
23 Love God, all you saints;
God takes care of all who stay close to him,
But he pays back in full
those arrogant enough to go it alone.