Here's the scenario from last week's Pulpit article.
Someone at work goes to the boss and declares that you are not pulling your weight. The boss then makes a declaration that because "everyone" is not doing as they should, everyone will be punished. The boss gives the employees more work, or changes around everyone's responsibilities.
Last week's article talked about how the "boss" could have reacted to prevent the situation getting worse.
Now let's look at how individuals who are the focus of such a complaint can respond.
If the allegations are true:
•understand your emotional reaction. Anger may rise to the surface as a result of embarrassment for being called out for not fulfilling your responsibility.
•own up to your failure. Don't make excuses for your lack of effort. This will only undermine your credibility and integrity.
•offer to take measurable steps to improve your work habits. Then ask your boss to review your progress weekly for the next several weeks.
If the allegations are not true:
•understand your emotional reaction. Anger may rise to the surface very quickly, which will be a symptom of being hurt emotionally.
•do not lash out at your accuser or make any hasty decisions. Many harmful comments and decisions are made in the heat of anger, and once they are out, they cannot be taken back. Your grandmother was wise when she told you to "count to 10" (or even 10,000 if necessary) before reacting.
•after calming down to a manageable level, the Bible says to go to your accuser and speak with him or her privately. Explain how their false accusation hurt you. Remain as calm as possible, not allowing your emotions to get hooked by their reaction.
•if the accuser denies their actions or attempts to make matters worse, simply walk away. Request a conversation with the next appropriate management level and the individual together. Again, this is very Biblical. You will have a witness to your attempts to rectify the situation.
•then let the matter drop while at work. Do your utmost to not allow the hurt to interfere with your good, strong work ethic.
•seek counsel from someone outside of work to vent your hurt and anger. Talking it through will work toward your healing and ease the pain and anger.
Ultimately, Jesus says to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." You may not like them very much at the moment, but through prayer and the guidance of our Lord, healing will take place. Be open to how God provides for that to happen.
Christians are called to act and react responsibly — which often means going against what we would rather do. Give a good witness to the strength of your faith and the graciousness of God by seeking justice, not revenge.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.