Responding God's Way --- By: Joe Franklin

Responding God’s Way

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath.  For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.”  Romans 12:20 HCSB.

A construction worker with my company was talking about his new life in Christ recently.   A worker for one of our competitors in the area had confronted him in a threatening way.  When men accustomed to hard work like they are from competing companies confront one another it can easily come to blows.  My co-worker listened, kept his composure, and walked away.  A few years ago he said at least one of us would have had a bad day because I would not have taken such verbal abuse without a physical fight.  Christ has made an indelible mark upon a tough man, a man’s man.  Not only did he not answer a fool according to his foolishness (Proverbs 26:4), but he also modeled Christ profoundly.

How we handle conflict says a great deal about our relationship with Christ.  There is no question that it happens in every work place setting.  Most of us are too quick to defend our cause and unwilling to trust God to handle the matter.  Of course not every situation is at the magnitude of the confrontation these two construction workers had, but even minor conflicts are great opportunities to show grace and mercy in a manner that reflects Christ’s presence in our lives.  Jesus modeled it so well because He was in continuous conflict with the religious leaders of that day.  Here are some helpful pointers for handling conflict properly.  First of all enter the work place each day with a servant’s heart.  This comes to Jesus’ followers as we spend time with His word and in prayer.  Pray very specifically for that serving heart and attitude so that when conflict comes you will respond in ways that will honor the Lord.  Then develop and practice good listening skills.  God gave us two ears and only one mouth for obvious reasons.  Think before you speak and respond to criticism even when it is harsh and unfair.  Remember you represent the Lord and He has a purpose for everything.  Time to cool off and gather your thoughts will likely allow you to have the best response and overcome the conflict.  What if you are the only opportunity that the person has to see Christ being lived out?  God might very well use the encounter above between the construction workers to change the heart of the one who started the ordeal.  Pausing to seek the Lord’s instruction and favor is the way to move forward.  Go back to the person with respect and express appreciation for them if appropriate.  There are times when it is appropriate to say nothing and walk away as the construction worker did.  That requires a discerning spirit that the Lord gives as we immerse ourselves in His word and walk closely with Him.  Conflict is real and it will come.  Our workplace challenge is to make each day count by responding God’s way.