Additional "Christ in the Cubicle" Articles


Respecting Authority
Published: 1/15/2013 5:07:09 PM


I'm quite positive the relationship with my manager has become far too comfortable.

I don't believe that this is the singular fault of myself or my manager.  Sure, my manager has been known to spend time during the workday discussing everything other than work.  Politics, the news, sports:  virtually nothing has been off the table as far as conversation topics are concerned.  Our relationship is something that I have come to appreciate.  Over time, this person who was responsible for hiring me and is daily responsible for overseeing 9 hours of my life has evolved into a friend.  This relationship has truly been a blessing.

The beginning of our relationship was not this way.  As I assume is the case in all new hire situations, our relationship was purely manager / employee.  I was there to work, he was there to supervise.  He was purely my mentor, my manager, my authority.  This is not to say that it was stuffy, dry and purely business-like.  It did not take a significant amount of time to evolve into the relationship that it is today. 

Alas, conflict arose.  This conflict grew purely out of frustration; my manager's frustration for something I had done (or really, something I neglected to do) and my retaliatory frustration over an insensitive remark he directed to me. 

As the conversation spiraled out of control, I did what I felt was best:  I asked that the conversation be continued later and after my manager agreed, I walked away.  Beyond frustrated and really hurt, I walked.  I just left for 15 minutes and walked.  It was the best thing I could think of to avoid an even more volatile situation.  I felt it was the right thing.  And frankly, it was not what I wanted to do.  I wanted to tell this person off.  I was hurt and angry, and the only thing I could think of was blowing up.  So thankfully God intervened and helped to diffuse the situation. All I had to do was walk.  Just walk. 

When I returned to my desk, I had calmed down over what I felt was a deliberate attempt to demean me.  Ultimately the conversation started anew but things didn't go much better.  It was obvious that sin was creeping its way into this conflict, and unfortunately I did nothing to attempt to thwart its attack on me. 

For the most part I kept my composure.  Even so, in my "not-so-calm demeanor”, I stated my belief that I was deliberately being slandered and demeaned.  There was no foul language.  There was no overt yelling.  I thought I maintained some professionalism.  I was actually proud of myself. 

It wasn't until the next day, when the conversation was brought up by my manager that I realized that my "not-so-calm demeanor” was an act of disrespect.  I was in the wrong.  I hadn't respected authority.

Don't get me wrong;  I was hurt.  I felt demeaned.  I felt disrespected.  I was genuinely upset.  It was important that I express my concern over the demeaning remark and over the misstatements attributed to me.  But the manner in which I did it was dishonorable.  It was done not out of a concern to end the conflict, but to fire back at someone who had hurt me. 

While I'm not entirely convinced that my reaction would have been different if our relationship was stuffy and business-like, I do know that at that point and time I did not see someone in authority.  I did not view my manager as my manager.  I was mad at a friend, and allowed sin to control my actions and fire right back.  It was a deliberate breaking of the fourth commandment that instructs us to honor those in authority over us ("Honor your father and your mother” Exodus 20:12).

I had an opportunity to show love and kindness, to respect authority, to honor God's fourth commandment.  Despite my hurt feelings and what I believed was a deliberate attempt at demeaning me, I had no right to show dishonor to my manager. 

I thank God for His help in allowing cooler heads to prevail that following day.  And I thank God for sending Christ, to die for my sins, including the sin of dishonoring my manager. 

With God's help, I'd like to continue to be comfortable in my relationship with my manager.  But just as importantly, to be respectful of his authority.

Contributed by Brian

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