How Can We Fix a Broken Relationship at Work? Here Is the Way

Editor’s Note:

As we always fix our eyes on our colleagues when interacting with them at work, this results in bad interpersonal relationships. How can we fix our broken relationships at work? Brothers and sisters of Our Daily Devotionals will give you the answer.


Hello brothers and sisters of Our Daily Devotionals,

Everything that has happened makes me very depressed. I’m a company’s leader, and whenever I see my colleagues don’t work enthusiastically and their poor efficiency, I unwillingly scold them and require them to accomplish the tasks within the allotted time, so they don’t like to associate with me and even evade me. I think of how the Lord Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and get along peacefully with others, but I cannot practice them no matter what. These things bother me so much and I don’t know how to improve my frosty relationships at work. I hope my brothers and sisters can give the answer and help me come out from my plight.

Xiaolu

Sister Xiaolu,

Hello! I understand how you feel. I had the same problem as you in the past and I had deep experience of the misery of it. Now I’ll communicate some of my own experience and knowledge and hope they help.

I’m a teacher and also a middle-level leader of our school, and I manage the group of liberal arts. In the past, when I took charge of the work, I always felt other teachers were not dedicated, that their professional skills improved very slowly, and that they never completed the assigned tasks with high quality. In order to have them actively cater to the school work and improve their professional skills as soon as possible, I compelled and regulated them and sometimes even slashed them. As a result, when seeing me, every one of them was nervous as a mouse when it sees a cat, intentionally or unintentionally avoided me, and had nothing to say to me. In addition, in an open class, the principal reproached me in front of everyone present and said that I was impatient at helping teach and did not teach young teachers rational teaching ways but just reproached them for their bad lectures, and that my regulating and compelling them caused some of them to be stifled and get fed up with studying and teaching. Hearing this, I even more felt wronged and argued with the principal, saying that I was doing this to improve their professional skills and that I had no ill intent…. During that period, I always felt that people around me all made things difficult for me, my interpersonal relationships went horribly wrong, and I was incompatible with anyone else. I was very depressed and in a lot of emotional pain.

do not know how to fix broken Relationships at work

Accepting Everything as Being From God and Seeking God’s Will

In my pain, I thought about how I’m a Christian and everything I encounter contains God’s intentions, so I should seek the truth from it. Later, I saw God’s words saying, “Whenever you are faced with something, be it good or bad, you should benefit from it and it should not cause you to become passive. No matter what, you should be able to consider it by standing on the side of God, and not analyze or study it from the perspective of man (this is a deviation in your experience).” Pondering these words, I understood that, no matter how unfavorable people or matters I encountered were, they were always sanctioned by God and there was a lesson for me to study. I should not complain or get negative, but should first stay calm and obey God’s sovereignty. Nothing was more important than learning the lessons I was supposed to learn and gaining the truth. Thinking like this made me feel much calmer and I could face it with an obedient heart.

Seeing the Root Cause of My Own Problem—Wild Arrogance

I came before God and sincerely prayed to Him, “God, now I know You are using this environment to let me learn a lesson. I’m willing to learn it and willing to repent. May You lead me to know myself.” After praying, I saw these words from God, “Did you ever realize what you are doing today—namely, rampaging through the world, scheming against each other, deceiving each other, behaving treacherously, secretively and shamelessly, not knowing the truth, being crooked and deceitful, practicing flattery, considering yourselves as always right and better than others, being arrogant, and acting savagely like wild animals in mountains and rough like the king of the beasts—is this the likeness of a human being? You are rude and unreasonable. You have never regarded My word as treasure, but instead you have adopted a contemptuous attitude.” The words of God have fully exposed the ugliness of us mankind after being corrupted by Satan. We are arrogant and self-righteous, honor ourselves above all else, and always want to take the lead in a group of people and to make others look up to and worship us. If someone doesn’t listen to us, we’ll argue with them and judge right or wrong, and we’re totally lacking tolerance, patience, and loving hearts, like wild animals in mountains, and lose any semblance of a human being. As I carefully contemplated God’s words, I recalled all of my interactions with my colleagues. I thought that, I had worked for a longer time than them, gained much work experience, and was qualified somewhat, so I used these as capital to place myself in a very high position while interacting with them. In the process of my spurring them on, I always made strict demands of them according to high standards, and as long as they didn’t meet my demands and standards, in my heart I didn’t really regard them highly, disliked and degraded them, and even pressed and pestered them. Moreover, when I saw that any of them had made some mistakes in the work, I would immediately correct them in front of everyone to show off my capability and show that I could find problems, and I never considered their feelings. My acting like this not only didn’t help improve their skills, but also harmed them and attacked their positivity, and so our relationships became frosty. When the principal pointed out my problems, I felt wronged and discontent, made excuses and argued on my own behalf, and lost my normal humanity and reason. Wasn’t my being unrestrained and arrogant exactly like wild animals in mountains? Who liked to interact with someone like me? As it turned out, it was my arrogant nature that had led me to be unable to get along with my colleagues. Without this exposure, I wouldn’t have known how arrogant and conceited I was and wouldn’t have thought of how to change. God arranged this kind of situation to purify and change me, and to allow me to live out a normal humanity and to be able to get along peacefully with others. All the things God arranged for me were truly wonderful. Coming to this realization, I felt ashamed for my actions and was willing to change. Following that, I prayed to God to find a path toward resolution.

Understanding God’s Will and Practicing the Truth to Satisfy God

read God's words in iPad

Afterward, I read God’s words, “Don’t be self-righteous; take the strengths of others and use them to offset your own deficiencies, watch how others live by God’s words and see whether or not their lives, actions and speech are worth learning from. If you regard others as less than you then you are self-righteous, self-conceited and are of benefit to no one.” Also, a passage from a sermon came to mind, “Be able to approach others properly. That is, don’t look up to them, but don’t look down on them. Whether another person is foolish or intelligent, if they are of high or low caliber, if they are rich or poor, you should not be biased and rely on emotions. Don’t force your own preferences on others and particularly do not force your own dislikes on others. This is not forcing someone into something they don’t want to do. When doing things do not just look at yourself; you must also look at the other person and learn more about how to be considerate of others so that others may benefit.”

God’s words gave me a path to treat people correctly. I shouldn’t be arrogant and self-important, focus my gaze on the other person, or unreasonably require them to obey me. Instead, I should learn to treat people fairly, understand others more often, and help others with a loving heart. Besides, I should look at others’ advantages more often because everyone has his strengths though they aren’t perfect. I recalled when I was just selected as the person in charge of my grade and I was impotent in many matters at that time and didn’t know the starting point of so much work, the older colleagues in my grade group helped me and told me what to do; whenever I got in difficulties in the making of presentations, the younger colleagues who were good with computers always made an effort to help me, so I gave fascinating slide shows when delivering lectures…. Thinking of this made me feel my colleagues’ love. However, normally I rarely saw their strengths but always saw their shortcomings and so despised them. With this in my mind, I felt even more ashamed for my arrogance and lack of love. I understood I should treat others according to God’s words and couldn’t do things relying on my arrogant disposition, that I shouldn’t compare my strengths with others’ weaknesses and certainly shouldn’t look down on others, and that in the interactions with my colleagues, I should learn from their strengths and help them. Only in this way can my frosty relationships be improved.

After realizing all of that I prayed a prayer of repentance to God and then turned on my cell phone and edited a text message, “My colleagues, I was so lacking in sense and acted too haughtily. I didn’t interact with you with a kind and forgiving heart. I pressed and pestered you in teaching, had no care or understanding of you, and didn’t help you. Now I solemnly offer a frank apology to you. I won’t act in that way in the future and I hope we can get along peacefully with each other. Please forgive me.” After finishing sending it to several colleagues, my heart was filled with apprehension and I thought: “What will they think of me? Will they laugh at me?” Unexpectedly, several minutes later, I received their texts one after another in which they comforted me. At that moment, I was moved to tears and couldn’t help but quietly thank God.

After that, my relationship with my colleagues became much better. Sometimes, when I saw my colleagues’ deficiencies in doing things and again wanted to scold them, I would pray to God and ask Him to lead me to treat others according to God’s words, and then my heart could become calm and I could help my colleagues with a loving heart. Slowly, under the guidance of God’s words, I reduced my arrogant airs and had more tolerance, patience, and understanding. This was all because God’s words had enabled me to live out the human likeness a little, to learn to conduct myself humbly and respect others, and to get along harmoniously and happily with people around me.

Allowing God’s Love to Bring Us and Others Together

After reading some spiritual books, I’ve summarized the four principles of practice that we should have in establishing normal interpersonal relationships.

  1. Every person has weaknesses and deficits; we all need others’ understanding and help. We should learn to be forgiving of others and love each other.

  2. We should consider how to be beneficial to others and how not to cause trouble for others when speaking and doing things.

  3. We should properly address others’ strong or weak points and look at others’ advantages more often. We cannot have too high demands of others, or force someone into something they don’t want to do. We should learn to be respectful of others.

  4. We should be trustworthy in our words and deeds, open up and speak from our hearts more often, and be frank in our interactions.

Dear Sister Xiaolu, I believe as long as you practice according to God’s words, you can also feel the happiness and joy of practicing God’s words. I hope that soon you will gain the leadership and guidance of God’s words and establish a normal relationship with your colleagues! All the glory belongs to God! Amen.

Sincerely yours,

Liu Yan of Our Daily Devotionals

 


Read more on our Christian in the Workplace page, or in the recommended articles below.

How to Get Along With Partner Against Our Will?

How to Get Along with the Short-tempered Boss

4 Ways to Strengthen Our Relationship With God

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4 Principles for Christians’ Interacting With Others

By Hanxiao In this complex society, we have to deal with all kinds of people every day. Each person’s personality, hobbies, habits, temperament, etc. are all different, so in our interactions some conflicts and misunderstandings will inevitably arise. Getting along well with others is not easy—this brings great difficulties to our work and life, and can be physically or mentally damaging to various degrees. Though this is very distressing for many people, they also feel like their hands are tied, and there are quite a few Christians who are no exception. So what exactly should we do to achieve harmony in our interactions? Here we will share simple fellowship on four principles. If our practice is in line with these four principles below, these headache-inducing interpersonal issues will surely be resolved. The first principle of getting along with others is to love each other. The Lord Jesus taught us: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). It is recorded in Matthew 18:21–22, “Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” From these verses we can see that the Lord requires us to love each other, have a forgiving heart, and be tolerant of others’ mistakes. Since we’re all of different ages, of different calibers, we have different hobbies and backgrounds, plus we all have some weaknesses and shortcomings, if the foundation of our interpersonal relationships is built upon mutual love and we consider things from others’ perspectives, we will encounter fewer conflicts and misunderstandings and will be able to get along well with others. Some people have love for others and a compassionate heart; they love to help others and are able to comfort those who are suffering and experiencing hardships. People like this please God and others are fond of them as well. However, those who lack love for others and always think of their own interests cannot possibly get along well with others. Even if they do have love for others, it is temporary and conditional, and they only help and are tolerant of those who are kind to them and have never hurt them. Once someone hurts them or infringes upon their interests, though they may appear tolerant on the outside, in their heart they are filled with dissatisfaction and hatred. They can’t practice the Lord’s way. They are detested by God and disliked by people. Therefore we should practice the Lord’s words in our interactions, and love others as we love ourselves, as the Lord requires; only then will we be able to interact harmoniously with others. But perhaps there will still be times we’re unable to willingly be tolerant of, patient with, and forgiving of others. What’s required of us in this sort of situation is to pray more to the Lord and ask Him to give us a heart of genuine tolerance and love for others. When we truly rely on the Lord to practice tolerance and patience, our prejudices and dissatisfactions with others in our hearts will gradually disappear. However, there are also principles for loving others as we love ourselves. God does not want us to love others blindly. It’s just like how the Lord Jesus was full of mercy and love toward His believers and followers, while He was full of condemnation and curses for those hypocritical Pharisees who opposed God. The Lord’s different attitudes toward these two kinds of people embody God’s righteous disposition. Therefore, we should treat brothers and sisters who truly believe in God and practice the Lord’s words with great sincerity; we should be loving and helpful. As for Satan’s forces that oppose and condemn God, we should draw clear boundaries and clearly distinguish between love and hate. The second principle of harmonious interactions is to have wisdom. In Matthew 10:16–17, the Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues.” Being wise in interactions with others is an indispensable principle of practice for Christians. This is because among the people that we interact with, there are Christians who pursue the truth, and there are some who belong to enemy forces that oppose God and hate the truth. They are specially sent by Satan to interrupt and disturb God’s work. If they learn of the business of the church or the personal information of brothers and sisters, they will make use of these things to attack, judge and condemn us, or even report us to the police to have us arrested. Therefore, we should have discernment with people like this and employ wisdom with them. In addition, we will inevitably encounter many difficulties in our interactions with others; wisdom is also called for at these times. Being wise is not about saying things contrary to our convictions to deceive others, but is for the sake of benefiting others as well as doing no harm to others, ourselves, or the church. For example, if we are going to do or say something, we must first take the other person’s personality into consideration, and what kind of action or speech will be beneficial to them, and ensure we will not harm them. These are some of the practices of dealing with people with wisdom. Only by behaving this way can we achieve harmony in our interactions. The third principle is to treat others properly. The Lord Jesus said, “And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3–5). When we are in conflict with others, we always feel that the other person is wrong or the problem is with them. In fact, at these times we are living within our satanic disposition of arrogance and self-righteousness; we’re being entirely self-centered and looking down on others. We’re unable to treat others objectively and fairly. This is why we should first resolve our own corrupt dispositions, reflect on and know our own shortcomings and deficiencies, and seek the truth that we should enter into; only then can we treat others properly. If we always fixate our gaze on others’ shortcomings, we will never be able to get along well with anyone. For example, we tend to see our family members’ shortcomings when we spend time with them; we feel like our spouse doesn’t know how to take care of others, they are inconsiderate, the food they make isn’t to our taste, our child is temperamental and hard to discipline, and so on; when we are with our colleagues and friends, we find that one of our colleagues is selfish, another one tends to judge others behind their backs, or some friend likes to take advantage of others, etc. This is often distressing for us because we do not know how to get along with them. In fact, regardless of whether others’ personality and behaviors are compatible with our preferences or not, we should not be prejudiced against them and just treat them however we like. We are all people who have been corrupted by Satan; we ourselves possess quite a few problems just as others do, so how are we qualified in any way to make demands of others? Additionally, God has bestowed different strengths and advantages upon every one of us in the hope that we can absorb the strengths of others to make up for our shortcomings. Only by doing so can we progress more quickly. Once we have this kind of understanding, when others do something that we do not like, we can deny ourselves, not ask too much of others, and not force what we think is right on others. Instead, we can consciously discover others’ strengths and absorb their positive qualities—this is how we can treat others properly. Furthermore, in our actions we should not only think of ourselves, but we should also be considerate toward others, learn to care for others more often, and let others benefit. Only then can we get along well with others. The fourth principle of harmonious interaction with others is to not focus on life philosophies, but instead, focus on establishing a proper relationship with God. In real life, we often use satanic philosophies of life to maintain our relationships with others, such as, “Think before you speak and then talk with reservation,” “One more friend means one more path; one more enemy means one more obstacle,” “Keeping silent on the faults of good friends makes for a long and good friendship,” and so on. When we base our interactions with others on these life philosophies, we curry favor and engage in flattery with others so that we can maintain a good relationship with them. We only talk about their good points and dare not point out their shortcomings; we protect our interpersonal relationships even if it means going against the principles of the truth. The Lord detests this kind of behavior, because what we exalt are Satan’s philosophies, not the Lord’s words. What the Lord requires of us is the ability to have a proper relationship with Him and do everything in accordance with His words, such as being honest people in line with His requirements, and not saying anything false in our interactions or ingratiating ourselves with others. He also requires that when we see brothers and sisters do things that are not in line with or violate the Lord’s teachings, we should help them out of love; we should not be afraid to offend them but instead point out their mistakes and help them resolve their problems. In short, all of our interactions should be established on the foundation of the Lord’s teachings. We should put into practice whatever the Lord requires of us. No matter who we are interacting with, we must be able to directly face the Lord and accept His scrutiny. Only with this kind of practice can we have a proper relationship with the Lord. 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