Q. I know the Bible teaches we are to respect those in authority over us, but my boss is one of the most difficult people I have ever met. She is dictatorial and sometimes even verbally abusive. The stress is filtering into my home life. Where do I draw the line between being submissive and confronting what I see as unacceptable behavior?
-C.P., Omaha, Neb.
A. Perhaps you need to start working for a new boss. At first glance, that may sound as though I'm saying quit and get a new job. Actually, I'm underscoring the words of Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (NKJV). Whatever actions you take should ultimately be framed by the truth that no matter where you might be employed, ultimately your "boss" is the Lord.
You are not likely to change your boss, but you do have the opportunity, despite her glaring inadequacy, to rediscover the boundaries in your own life worth preserving. Start by discovering the growth lessons God is working in you—lessons such as the fact that taking work home isn't working; or thinking because we are people of faith we leave our humanity at the door; or mistaking our call to being submitted to authority as tantamount to welcoming emotional abuse.
Understanding this is more than a theological nicety; it keeps you from playing the role of a victim and perpetuating the dysfunctional nature of relationships in the workplace.
Reality for you, in dealing with a difficult boss, may be to start planning your exit strategy. Knowing you aren't going to be there for long can, in fact, be very liberating. It can release a lot of built-up emotional pressure, reframe your day-to-day attitudes and even possibly provide you with needed perspective to see solutions you were simply missing.
As a person of faith, you should hold out for the hope of something redemptive taking place between you and your boss. As you do, remember everyone complains about the boss, and almost any great boss is only great in retrospect. The lessons God is helping us to learn usually only happen after the pain finally subsides.
Ultimately, what will remain is the wisdom you will gain from a difficult situation—and that God is the best boss to work for.
By: Dennis Easter, district supervisor of Foursquare's Pacific Coast and Valleys District