Ask Salt&Light: How can I be a good testimony when my Christian colleague isn’t?
Christine Ong // July 10, 2019, 5:53 pm
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash.
I have a colleague who is very open about calling herself a Christian, but some of her behaviour – a passive-aggressive response to criticism and a lacklustre attitude to work – has earned the ire of our peers. I’m now afraid to mention being a believer myself, in case our peers start to judge both me and the faith. Is there something else I should do?
Sharon H, 30, equity research analyst
It certainly is a continuous challenge for Christians, in all our imperfections, to follow Jesus every day.
In his book Every Good Endeavour, Timothy Keller says Christians should be different from non-believers at work and that cultivating attractively distinct lives is essential to our public witness.
The way we live for God should permeate all areas of life, especially in the workplace where we spend half our time.
But all of us fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and our colleagues are no exception. We are all on the same journey of faith. Sanctification is a process that never ends.
Paul says in Romans 7:18, 25: “Nothing good lives in me… Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”.
Regardless of how your colleagues behave, each of us have our own personal testimony and responsibility to positively reflect God in our work ethic, to be the salt and light in Jesus’ name.
Be Excellent at Work
Serve your employer as you would serve God. Strive for excellence in your responsibilities to the glory of God. Work done well is uncommon, and it will be noticed by our colleagues.
The quality of a Christian’s work and attitude should be different from the quality of work and attitude of those who don’t know Jesus. We are working for Him, and therefore our work should be good. Be reliable and dependable.
All of us fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and our colleagues are no exception.
Show respect for your colleagues and bosses – your conduct can help create opportunities outside the work hours for Gospel conversations. Your colleagues will inevitably associate your positive conduct at work with your faith.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians: 3:23)
Build authentic and meaningful relationships with your colleagues. Love the people you work with.
If you are looking for the perfect colleague or boss, they don’t exist. We are called to love the people where they are, just as Christ loved us.
Our faith is not only content-oriented – many people come to know Jesus because a Christian has loved them. That is our ministry in the workplace, to encourage others and build an environment that allows the grace of God to shine through you.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Speak impartiality into every situation. Avoid gossip and negative speech. Instead, with a view toward problem solving, offer an “upbeat word”. Look for opportunities to speak positively. Demonstrate honesty in all you do.
Be the first to acknowledge your mistakes, apologise, ask for forgiveness, make amends.
Many people come to know Jesus because a Christian has loved them.
If you get off on a wrong foot with anyone at work, heal the relationship. Acts of kindness toward that person will do more than words and good intentions. Let them see your heart by what you do.
We can also show generosity to our colleagues by loving them outside of work – attending a funeral if they lose a loved one, grabbing dinner with them if they are struggling or attending their wedding.
Generosity during after-work hours is a testimony of love – showing them that you see them as a whole person, not merely a productive colleague.
This is the most important step.
Seek the Lord each day, spend time in His presence and be attentive to what He lays on your heart. Our Father God loves you and knows your thoughts, your struggles and your work situation.
Pray for your Christian colleagues to walk faithfully in their daily witness at the workplace. Surrender your situation to Him and continue to trust in His guidance.
For “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)