27 “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and from someone who takes your things, don’t ask for them back. 31 Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do what is good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. — Luke 6:27-36
How Can Faith Combat Workplace Conflict?
by John French
We have all been there. Your co-worker takes credit for a project you worked tirelessly on. A rival firm steals a client. Someone takes your lunch from the fridge—or never takes their lunch out of the fridge. These are all things that bother us. Conflict in the workplace is unavoidable. As Christians, how can we work through conflict in our careers to glorify God?
In the passage today, Jesus challenges us to change our response to conflict. “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27-28). This seems exactly opposite to what corporate America teaches us. Luke includes the business world, especially the financial world, when he says, “...and lend (referring to our enemies), expecting nothing in return” (Luke 6:35). While I am not a banker, this doesn’t seem like the smartest lending strategy.
But this passage has a greater over-arching lesson to teach us about faith and conflict in the workplace: we as Christians cannot abuse our power to subdue those with whom we are in conflict. Instead, in God’s economy, we must pursue the welfare of others, even our enemies. In the business world, this can be applied at two different levels.
First, it applies to our daily interpersonal relationships in the office. We are to pursue the welfare of those we may be in conflict with. This is not saying we can or should avoid conflict. As an example, if you and a co-worker are applying for the same promotion, you must still help and not hinder your co-worker to complete their work well, while also attempting to complete your work as well as you’re able.
Second, we can pursue the welfare of others at a macro “corporate” level. That means not subduing our vendors into unfair prices, filing useless lawsuits, fabricating lies about the competition, or monopolizing an industry. Every field has their unique setting, and trying to find a example from the passage in Luke that fits all of them would be unreasonable. Winning in business by destroying the environment might be different than committing a pass interference in football. Therefore, one of the greatest challenges for a Christian in the workplace is discerning the best ways to navigate conflict and competition in light of Jesus’ teaching. Remember what He said: “Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them” (Luke 6:31).
- Who are the people in your life you currently have conflict with? Ask God to show you how to resolve the conflict.
- Are you seeking the advancement of God’s kingdom or your own kingdom in the workplace?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.