Love in the Workplace?
This week we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. While there is much dispute over the origins of this day, there is no doubt that soon after its creation Hallmark took a hold and ran with it. No, Hallmark does not shoulder all the blame for another holiday becoming overcommercialized, but they certainly helped perpetuate the momentum. We are bombarded with Valentines. While writing this blog I received multiple notifications on my phone: the latest Galentine festivities on Pinterest, iHeartRadio wanting to create a personalized playlist just for me for this special day, and the morning news highlighting the best sweet treats including some kind of red cocktail.
Some people dread this day, others are depressed by it, and many feel burdened by the obligation to get it right. One trend I am loving is this idea that Valentines is no longer viewed just as an evening in a dark corner of a restaurant with the love of your life. Rather many are broadening the circle and definition of this holiday and seeing it as an opportunity to celebrate friends and family.
Finding ways of expressing our love for one another is an ennobling act that does double duty because it nurtures the heart of both the giver and the receiver. The Collaborative’s question as we dig deeper now becomes, what could this (love) look like in the workplace. As we delve into this, let’s begin with what the Scriptures say as our starting point.
The last verse of I Corinthians 13 tells us to abide in faith, hope, love. It then takes it even one step further in assigning the highest value to love—the greatest of these is love. With these passages as our foundation, consider these four ideas and questions from John Kyle, Executive Director of The Fellows Initiative.
1. Love Bears All Things
The verb “to bear” has two related meanings, “to hold up” and “to cover”—something like a pillar holding up a roof. The pillar holds up the roof and enables it to withstand the wind. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this word picture. He covers and protects us. In a lesser sense, we are also to be pillars for our colleagues.
Given all the difficulties of your workplace, what are some ways you can glorify God by providing a safe refuge for your colleagues?
2. Love Believes All Things
The object of our belief is the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust that he is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father, and interceding for us. This is the transformative truth that allows us to see everything differently. If God is for us who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)
In what ways does your belief in the risen Christ transform your relationships at work?
3. Love Hopes All Things
We live in an age of cynicism. Cynicism prevents us from having genuine hope in God’s unfolding plan. In our worry and doubt, we can fail to see the glorious things God is doing in our midst.
What are some ways you can help and encourage your colleagues by letting them know that with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26)?
4. Love Endures All Things
The workplace can be a test of patience. Frustrations and anger can lead to sustained bitterness. The Holy Spirit walks beside us and enables us to have peace (shalom) even in the face of trouble.
In what way do you walk beside your colleagues, sharing and helping to carry their burdens?
John Kyle has raised some important questions here that are worth our consideration. Pondering these will likely lead to wrestling with a variety of issues both our own as well as co-workers. If you are like me, sometimes when I encounter difficult questions that are not easily answered I have a tendency to distract myself. There are some matters that do not merit our time, but thoughtfully working through how we might better love our neighbors, in this instance our co-workers, moves us to greater obedience and union in Christ and is therefore most worthy of our efforts.
As I have said on numerous occasions, this is not a one size fits all solution. Love can find expression in a myriad ways. Showing love, which by definition means compassion, empathy, and appreciation, in various different relationships, including our coworkers, can only help us thrive in our efforts to live a more godly life. By including those people we see every day, we live out Jesus’ command to be good neighbors.
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Photo by Crosland Stuart