5 ideas for loving difficult people at work today

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Luke 6:27)

Last week, we began exploring how our work should be uncommonly shaped by the reality of common grace: the goodness God shows to “the righteous and the unrighteous,” his friends and his enemies (see Matthew 5:45).

Today, we’ll see that common grace should lead us to be good to our enemies.

Interestingly, that’s the context of Matthew 5:45. Jesus said, “I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…because [God] makes his sun rise on both evil and good people, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44-45).

You see it right? Jesus is saying that we should do good to our enemies because of God’s common grace! God is so good that he longs to do good to “the righteous and the unrighteous.” And he’s calling you and me to be the conduits for his blessings.

Now, you may not have anyone at work you’d describe as an “enemy.” But do you have a boss who’s hard to love? Or a co-worker who’s spreading lies and gossip about you? Or a competitor who’s knocking-off your product? 

Of course you do. Everyone is currently working with or for someone they consider to be less than friendly. God isn’t calling you simply to “do no harm” to that person. But to proactively bless them! 

What does that look like practically?

Let’s say someone on your team (an employee, vendor, etc.) did a terrible job on a project, costing you a lot of time, energy, money, and maybe even social capital. They did such a bad job that they were fired or taken off of your team. Loving this “enemy” could look like:

  • Praying that God would bless them in their careers
  • Giving them feedback to help them in their future career (instead of, as I’m tempted to do, write the person off and get back to work)
  • Proactively writing a LinkedIn recommendation that focuses on the things the person did do well
  • Offer them forgiveness for how they wronged you
  • Refusing to speak poorly about them with those who remain on the project

I’ve been in the situation above and have not loved my “enemy” well. But the doctrine of common grace reminds me that I’m called to do better next time. Because God is seeking to do good to the righteous and the unrighteous. With that in mind, love your enemies well at work today!


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