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Mercy triumphs over justice. (James 2:13)
It used to be that I held justice to be supreme over mercy. I can think of countless times that I sought to take justice into my own hands at work—to right the wrongs committed against me. But what the Lord calls for is forgiveness. I have found joy in forgiving others—in seeking reconciliation instead of retribution. I’ve learned that people value mercy far more than recognition—just as God created us to do.
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
Each day at work, I can live for Christ by treating everyone as a fellow image-bearer of God. No one is any better or worse than anyone else. I can step alongside my colleagues at the most difficult times and share their burdens, frustrations, and setbacks. There have been many occasions where I have had the opportunity to fight for the dignity and rights of other workers who have been wronged in their jobs. Although at times this has meant criticism, ostracism, and persecution by others, this is an obligation I embrace as a disciple of the Lord.
One of the most memorable moments of my professional career involved taking a stand for someone else. One of my previous employers hired a senior executive to lead a new business line. As I got to know the new executive, I began to share in the ups and downs of his experience getting acclimated to a new city and getting his family settled down. Unfortunately, the new business activity he came to lead was subject to numerous delays, and I happened to hear the chief financial officer of the company mention that he had decided to no longer pursue the opportunity. This decision was made on a “gut” basis with very little analysis. I remember speaking with my colleague, and telling him I would support him in making the case to pursue the business opportunity. I called a meeting with the CFO to discuss the decision he had made and a fierce debate ensued over the merits of his decision. I remember the shock he had at the intensity of the discussion—he couldn’t understand why I was fighting so hard for a new manager and a new line of business at the company, and why I cared so much about a situation that didn’t directly affect my job. Fortunately, we were able to convince the CFO to enter into the new business line. The experience taught me that I had a passion for supporting the underdog, and for fighting for people that I believed in.
As an ambassador for Christ, I find that I no longer define myself by my job. I work for God, at the place of my employer. No matter where I work, this will never change. Wherever God wants me to be, whatever God wants me to do, I am ready and willing.
Being a Leader
I used to think of myself as a manager whose primary purpose was to supervise my subordinates. I thought my job was to manage people to achieve a specific outcome. As I have matured in my faith, I have begun to think like a leader whose job is to empower others. My focus has become longer term— more on mission and purpose—and less on short-term tactical objectives. As someone who works for the Lord and not for men, I am focused on God’s mission and purpose for me.
My purpose is to glorify God by showing His glory through my leadership, administration, and teaching at work. In order to successfully fulfill this purpose, I must be in fellowship with God and the family of Christ. My problem is rebellion against God. Every time I sin, I alienate myself from God. As a result of this alienation, I constantly need to be reconciled with God. Because of the cross and God’s grace, my sins have been forgiven and my relationship with God restored. As God has reconciled me to Him, so I must reconcile myself to others. Each day at work, it is my job to be a unifying, reconciling force rather than a divisive one.
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