Many of us have that one coworker that is really hard to love… sometimes even be in close proximity to. Does someone instantly pop into your mind? Yep, I thought so. I have a few people that come to mind too. Maybe it is the man in the cubical next to you who clicks their pen about a million times a day and who talks on the phone WAY to loud. Or maybe it is the lady down the hall who seems to get every promotion or project you wanted. Sometimes, people are hard to love especially people you work with and see every single day. Out of sight out of mind doesn’t apply because hello you work with these people. Well I am here to help!
Recently I have been trying to love, sometimes just tolerate, my coworkers better. Yes, this includes ones that are hard to love. So here are some tips I have to love your coworkers… even when it’s hard:
You never truly know what someone is going through until you get to know them. I had a coworker in the past who was extremely difficult to work with. She had a poor attitude, constantly complained, and had an extremely negative outlook on just about everything. Honestly, she was hard to be around. After several minutes with her I felt down and discouraged because her attitude was contagious. God put it on my heart to get to know her better so I started praying for an opportunity to do so.
Sure enough, one day she looked extra defeated. I made a point to stop and ask how things were going. She then opened up to me about how anxiety and severe depression had debilitated her for most of her life. Ah, this made so much sense. Now I knew why she was so negative, she was hurting and struggling. From that moment on, I tried my best to get to know more about her and build a relationship her. Because I wanted to be a light to her, I would make sure to be positive and intentional with my words and actions. This wasn’t always easy.
Her negativity didn’t go away and she was still hard to love but knowing more about her helped me to know how to love her better. I didn’t always accomplish this, I am SO far from perfect, but I know God used our relationship to bring glory to Him, encourage her, and to give me perspective.
Everyone goes through tough stuff. Everyone struggles with something. Take the time to build meaningful relationships with the people in your workplace, especially the people that are hard to love. This can seem daunting but it can open the door to ministering to someone who needs love and maybe just a friend to talk to.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:34-35
Authenticity is a rarity in today’s society. Our lives are often masked by the strictly good things we choose to post on social media. I believe in order to love your coworkers and the people around you well you have to be authentic. Strong relationships are built on how real you are with one another. When you show someone who you really are, chances are they will trust you. When they trust you, they will let you into their life. Remember those coworkers that are extra hard to love? My guess is they are dealing with something tough or they have dealt with some hard things that life has thrown them.
When you are genuine and create an environment of openness people feel comfortable around you. So friends, be real with others. Let your love be authentic to those around you. God will use your vulnerability and authenticity to allow you to minster to your coworkers. Yep, even when it is hard.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” -Romans 12:9-10
ACCEPT YOUR CALL TO LOVE
I have worked in vocational ministry and I know what it feels like to make a difference inside the walls of the church. But I want you to know that ministry doesn’t just happen in church. You have the opportunity every day to love on the people that you work with. Every believer of Christ is called into ministry the moment they give their life to Christ.
Although I am no longer in ministry as a paying job, I am just as called to love my coworkers and minster to them! Currently I work with a woman devoted to Islam. To be honest with y’all she one of the kindest people I have ever met. I also work with an atheist and an agnotistc. Actually I do not work closely with anyone who knows Christ. Yet, everyday I get to wake up and show them love through my optimism, joy, and yes even humor. (My husband will get a good laugh out of that one!)
God wakes me up every morning and grants me the opportunity to do ministry wherever I go. Jesus didn’t always teach in the temple. He often taught in the streets to people who didn’t know him or even like him. How will you love and minster to the people in your workplace this week? Comment and let me know!