Whether we work on a factory floor, in a cramped cubical, or in the corner office, each of us has the opportunity to bring grace to our workplace. Even small things—a word of encouragement or a simple act of kindness—can be used by God to accomplish big things.
Graciousness Stands Out
In a world grown accustomed to discourtesy and disrespect, where “me first, others second” is the norm, people who are others-centered stand out.
A 2013 survey asked, “Are Americans becoming ruder?” A whopping 77 percent answered yes.9 Google rudeness and narcissism in the workplace, and you will come up with a list of characteristics that includes people who:
- belittle others
- do not share ideas with others
- take credit for things they did not do
- ask for help from coworkers, but do not return the favor
- spread gossip and backstab
- hoard resources
- kiss up to superiors
- do not stand up for others
- do what’s best for themselves, not for the team
These traits are out of character for God’s children.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1–4)
Showing care and concern for others is not an option. It is what Christians do—the natural outworking of our relationship with Christ.
Kind words and gracious actions come from within, not from obligation or religious duty. Our ability to consistently express grace and kindness toward others is directly related to understanding two things:
God’s grace and kindness toward us is totally underserved.
When this truth grasps our hearts, it compels us to extend grace and kindness to others.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:12-13)
Christ is alive in us, and He gives us the power to love others.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13, NLT)
What Grace Looks Like
When we show concern toward others through our words and actions, people have the opportunity to see Jesus in us. This can soften the hardest of hearts. Read more about communicating grace
Kindness Is Contagious
A study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that a single act of kindness can spread between individuals and across time, from Person A to Person B, from Person B to Person C, and from Person C to Person D.10
Envision what could happen if Christians in workplaces around the world focused on spreading God’s grace through simple acts of kindness. We could transform the atmosphere of our workplaces and build spiritual influence that God could use to draw millions to Him.
My son James entered the job market in 2008 just as the bottom dropped out of the economy. After months of searching for a position where he could use his gifts and education, he took a job as a sales associate at a large retail chain. The position was less than ideal, but James did his work diligently and brought his positive, helpful attitude to work every day.
Although many employees made little or no effort to be helpful or friendly, James worked at building relationships with his coworkers.
After a few months, he received his first promotion. His team won numerous sales awards, and he rose to assistant manager of the company’s flagship store. James also earned the trust of many coworkers, which opened doors for conversations about faith over lunch and during breaks.
His ideal job finally came along, but he still goes back to the store to stay in touch. Sometimes he brings in pizza when everyone is working long hours during big sales events.
It doesn’t take a lot of light to light up a dark room or a dark workplace. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
This is the first article of a four-part series on communicating grace in the workplace:
- Part 2: Communicating Grace in Our Words
- Part 3: Communicating Grace in Our Listening
- Part 4: Communicating Grace in our Actions