April 02, 2007

Working with jerks

There is a plethora of books available addressing the issues of working for/with a "jerk." Showing the steady downward spiral of civility in our nation, a March 30, 2007 report on Fox News covered a newly published book that replaced the word "jerk" with a word they had to bleep out and remove from the book cover's title when showing the book.

While we must be sure that we, in fact, are acting as we ought to act, it's true that we often have to work for or with people who do not use common courtesy and respect in their dealings with others.

I am currently experiencing some of these dynamics in my workplace. And as He always does, God has provided a way of escape from my desire to lash out at these people or to display my personal indignation about how I am being treated.

From this morning's devotions

Psalm 4
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.

An interesting progression covering some emotional responses to this type of situation. David begins with anger that men are speaking lies about him. He then turns to a veiled threat that he has been set apart by God and that God hears his prayers. He then recognizes his anger and reminds himself that it is okay to be angry, but that he must not allow the anger to turn to sin. He quiets himself: "ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent." And finally he commits to doing right by "offer[ing] right sacrifices" and turns from his anger with, "and put your trust in the LORD." This seems to parallel the concept of God saying, "vengeance is mine; I will repay."

The next verse that jumped out at me was:

Proverbs 20:11
Even a child makes himself known by his acts
by whether his conduct is pure and upright."

If I am worried about lies or misrepresentations being told about me, I can rest assured that we are "known by [our] acts." If I work as I should, I will establish a reputation that provides a solid shield against the attacks of those who would use lies and half-truths to gain the upperhand.

God grant me the grace to present a Christian (Christlike) response to the pressures of the workplace.

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