How can we stay faithfully in sync about our friends in the work place?
For many of us, our friends at work are like a second family. We work with them, laugh with them, and weather tough times with them. There’s a bond and comradery that’s formed and, at its best, that connection can be a mutually beneficial asset. However, sometimes the company we keep at work could be detrimental to us professionally and personally. Here are a few things to look out for and how to get aligned with God:
Ok…I know we’re all grown up now but somethings don’t change between the high school homeroom and corporate office. Let’s be honest, peer pressure is alive and well and we have to contend with it. The reality is that bad company corrupts good character (That’s actually in the Bible – 1 Corinthians 15:33). If we find ourselves with certain peers laughing at jokes we wouldn’t tolerate anywhere else, using language we wouldn’t say in front of our children, and adopting an attitude that does not give a good example of Christ-centered thinking; then chances are we have an issue with bad company. There’s only one thing to do; wake up and do what’s right (1 Corinthians 15:34 paraphrase). It’s hard taking a stand for our faith because it always makes us stand out. But that’s the point. Sometimes not laughing at the joke triggers a question that gives the opportunity for us to share our relationship with God and why our devotion to living a life pleasing to Him is so important. A mature friend will accept our commitment to live according to our faith, even if they don’t agree personally. Sure, some friends at work will not receive it well and may even ostracize us because of our faith. But sometimes in life a loss is a gain.
Flirting with Disaster
There’s nothing inherently unbiblical about having friendships with peers of the opposite sex. But we must consider that everything that is permissible is not necessarily beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). For the single professional, office romance can be a precarious road to walk. It cannot only damage office harmony but can even be against the company’s code of conduct. In cases where company policy is not an issue, it’s still important to make sure the person is mature enough to know how to safeguard the relationship and the professional reputation of both parties (Of course, this is assuming they’re a Christian which is a biblical requirement…but that’s a different topic). One sign to look out for is if the person is overtly flirtatious from the start. If they can’t practice professional decorum before the relationship begins, it’s only going to get worse if a relationship progresses.
For married professionals, it’s a matter of practicing wisdom. There is already a tug of war between our work life and home life that we need to constantly balance. Why complicate it with opposite sex friendships? But if we already have these friendships, we need to ask ourselves a few questions. Is there anything that I am emotionally receiving from this friendship that I am not getting from my spouse? Does this person have my confidence in any matter that my spouse does not? Do I feel more at ease in anyway in this person’s presence compared to my spouse? If the answer is yes to any of these then something wicked is crouching at the door, friend (Genesis 4:7). Let’s close it before it gets in.
Therapy Hours During Office Hours
Yes, I know part of being a Christian is loving and caring about others. We are supposed to not only care about our interests but also the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). Being there for people in their hour of need, even during work hours, is a very good thing. However, there are some office friends that make us consider sliding a therapist couch into our cubicle. When our peer becomes more of a patient, it’s time for us to take a step back and redirect. We must respect the authority of our employers and limit non-work conversations during office hours. If our friend’s issues require more than what we can give and still maintain our professional integrity (and sanity), then it’s time to refer them to a licensed professional. Even if the frequency of the conversations is not an issue, we must monitor their impact. If every conversation with a work friend leaves us so weary and heavy that we can’t do our job, something is amiss.
We are to empathize with our friend’s troubles, not incubate them. Don’t mistake being their listening ear for being their living Savior.
Are your work friendships spiritually and professionally beneficial? What makes it difficult and how are you syncing up with God about it?
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