Getting along with our co-workers, employees and supervisors is possible but, only when we do it God's way. We can't master relationships, especially difficult ones, in our own strength.
'Personality differences' has been a big study of mine. But, let's face it, we can improve our understanding of personalities and how to work with them but only God's grace can give us the power to work side by side with someone who operates in the total opposite approach and procedure of everything we do.
Reading Romans 14-15 in The Message, brings genuine clarity to the subject. Bottom line: give others a break and concentrate on refining our own style. Also, make sure we live what we preach.
I'm sharing highlights from Romans 14, straight from Bro. Paul and so appropriate for today:
"Welcome with open arms fellow believers (and co-workers and bosses) who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with--even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently...None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to--all the way from life to death and everything in between--not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that He could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other...So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God. Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is...So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault...Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe--some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them--then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong."
I'm thinking Paul is saying God doesn't need me to be his deputy sheriff in life. Instead, I can look for ways to affirm those I work with rather than criticize and enforce rules.
Now, listen to highlights in Romans 15, Paul goes even deeper.
"Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, "How can I help?" That's exactly what Jesus did. He didn't make it easy for himself by avoiding people's troubles, but waded right in and helped out. "I took on the troubles of the troubled," is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it's written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we'll be a choir--not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! So reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now you do it!"
So, the message I'm getting is: When we are in the same work situation with someone who is let's say a bit dysfunctional or high maintenance, we can choose to wade right in with God's love or just do what is convenient for us.
Got some sticky relationships in the workplace? Just remember, getting along God's way...is the best way. He knew we would need His grace and strength so we can rest assured, it's always there for us.
Ellene Meece lives in Meeker, Colorado and works with her husband in their natural resource company while running her own online store, http://www.Grandmastreasuresonline.com. Currently, she oversees the marketing for the FMIN Workplace Leaders Network.