What follows is an account of true events with details and names changed to respect privacy.
To keep it short: I work with a guy we’ll call Antonio. Our working relationship of late hasn’t been necessarily pleasant. Recently we had a passive aggressive confrontation. This, combined with lack of sleep, left me in tears.
My boss found me. We’re going to call her Diana. Diana is a believer I look up to, yet our relationship is first and foremost professional. Even still, she wasn’t happy to find her sister in Christ so visibly upset. After some encouraging, I came clean about the tension and discomfort of the last two years. As is required, the next week she had separate meetings with us to address the issue.
In our meeting, she took an off the record moment to talk to me as a fellow soldier rather than a supervisor.
Firstly, she presented me with an alternative to my side of things—he felt much the same way that I did. That I had no respect for him, and that I think myself superior. When I was done being miffed that he had turned it back on me, I really thought about it.
I got hit with some Holy Spirit style conviction. I’m task-oriented and it can come off as me thinking my work is more important. I can get pretty grumpy when I’m tired, which these days is often. I have worked as a supervisor before, so even though I am on equal footing as everyone in my office, I can give orders rather than ask for teamwork. Even more concerning? I cared so much about how Antonio behaved toward me that I stopped caring about how I was treating him.
How’s that for a testimony?
Secondly, Diana offered a grain of wisdom: in our minds perception is reality. In Antonio’s reality, Kat is self-important, grumpy, and bossy.
But wait ….
Antonio is an unbeliever (he’s told us as much). He is not accustomed to conviction for wrongdoing. He doesn’t live a life of accountability. How difficult it must be for him, then, to see how his actions affect others. In the same way, he doesn’t have the knowledge that he is ultimately forgiven. He doesn’t know the constant correcting yet comforting presence of God. He has possibly never had someone be gracious and forgiving with him.
Thirdly, Diana reminded me:
We have a greater responsibility.
Sure, I am employed as a Testing Specialist. But, I am called to be a living testimony. It’s very possible that Diana and I will be the only light Antonio ever sees. How we interact with him could plant seeds with eternal results.
For two years,
I have failed Antonio.
While I was not solely at fault for this altercation, my bruised feelings are nothing, nothing compared to the fact that this man doesn’t know Christ. If I don’t get my act together, I may miss the chance to share with him what his soul so desperately needs.
While it may not fall solely on my shoulders, this is what God keeps us here for! This is our mission!
To claim to be a soldier in this war, I must strive to only focus on showing the love I know. With God’s direction, I must show Antonio the grace which he may have never encountered, mercy for his mistakes, and be gentle when I’d much rather not.
I must also remind myself—it is natural for unbelievers to hate us.
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.John 15:18
… and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.Matthew 10:22a
The sin in their hearts can’t help but be rankled by the Spirit in ours. It makes them uncomfortable. Completing the mission set to us will always be met with hatred.
Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.Mark 16:15
Unbelievers need to see the light of Christ in my actions so much more than I need to “feel” respected.
The true reality,
the heavenly perspective is:
I have a greater responsibility.
I am the daughter of the King, and for Antonio’s sake I need to start acting like it.