"Instead, we will hold to [speak] the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the Head of His body, the church."1
A Daily Encounter reader writes, "I have a problem at work with my boss. He is supposed to be a good Christian man, but there seems to be a problem. Every time he loses something or does something wrong, he blames me or another staff member. One day I wasn't even there and something got lost, and he said I had to be the one that moved it. I told him I was out that day, but he insisted it was me. What should I do?"
I'm sure that some, if not many, of our readers could identify with Jessica's (not her real name) problem.
So what do you do when you have a mean boss?
I once had a job where my boss was an angry yeller. He would yell at us at the slightest provocation. He was much taller than I, so one day when I had had enough of his bullying, I stood on my tip-toes, got right in his face, and yelled at him, "Don't yell at me!"
I was much younger in those days and hopefully I'd be a little more tactful today. Furthermore, I'm not suggesting that you yell at your boss. However, if you stand up to your boss, you need to be prepared to be fired. I didn't get fired, but was prepared to be. I just wasn't going to stand by passively and take his yelling at me—especially when I was and have always been a hard worker. But you know what? When I stood up to him, he crumbled. I sensed that behind his aggressive façade (mask) was a hurt, frightened 'boy'. Amazingly, he never yelled at me again and we ended up getting on together very well.
We also need to remember that we go to work to earn a living. At work it would be nice if people would always be nice to us, but that isn't realistic. We can't change the people we work with, and we can't change our boss. But we can change bosses (our job), but if we can't, we can change ourselves and how we respond to nasty people.
It's not easy, I know, but it's up to us. We do have a choice in how we react, keeping in mind that we react—especially when we overreact—on the basis of who we are more than on what the other person does. This doesn’t excuse another person's negative behavior, but it does remind us that the only person we can ever change is ourselves.
Most important of all, when I have to be involved with someone I don't like or don't like the way they act, I ask God to help me to be "as Christ" to this person, and that they, seeing Christ in me, will want him for themselves. This kind of change in me doesn't happen instantly—I have to keep working at it—and that with God's help.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when I am in a situation with mean people, please give me the wisdom to know what to do, and the courage to do it. And in all situations please help me to be as Christ to those who rub me the wrong way, and always speak the truth in love. So help me God. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT).