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Should We Talk Religion in the Workplace?

When it comes to office conversation, it seems the latest sports team upset, chatter about the newest White House scandal, or the big dip in the stock market are all acceptable gab content, but talking about our faith is one subject we tend to quietly dance around.

What is it about religion that makes us so uncomfortable? Why do we cringe when someone brings up the subject of God or the Bible or eternity?

I believe the reason, though somewhat complex, can be boiled down to two words: authority and accountability. People do not like either of those words, and religion forces us to think of both.

Sharing Your Faith in Love

So, how is the best way to share your faith? I mean, isn't that what we are supposed to do? Didn't Jesus tell us to "be a light" and to "shine in the darkness"? He did and we should, but I believe there is a wrong way and a right way to share.

For example, I work in a public office building with various backgrounds of people. In my immediate office, I work with two men who are both believers but from very different denominations with very different spiritual guidelines. Fortunately, we've been able to talk freely about our faith...what we believe the Bible teaches, etc., and have lovingly and prayerfully confronted differences which could become stumbling blocks.

For others in the building who are not believers and who do not have a faith, I am able to subtly bring it up in conversation when the occasion presents itself. When someone is having surgery, I let them know I'll be praying for them. When someone has lost a loved one, I make myself available and show my concern by being a listening ear, encouraging them with kind words, etc.

I build relationships, and once those relationships have been established, then I feel as if I have earned the right to share deeper things with them, such as my faith.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

That same sentiment goes for sharing your faith. I have found that if I go in with my spiritual guns a blazing, they shut me down. However, if I show them kindness and love, then I earn their respect and have a more receptive audience when the occasion arises for me to share my own story of how God has changed my life and is working in and through me.

The Bottom Line

When I mentioned above the two uncomfortable words, authority and accountability, I think I would like to expound on that.

When people get into a religious discussion, most of the time, nothing good comes from it, especially if both parties become heated.

What we have to understand is that faith is not about religion at all. Faith is about a relationship with the One who came to earth and died in our place on the cross.

Religion is manmade. A faith-relationship is God-made. Only God can change a heart. Only God can open a person's spiritual eyes, therefore, any time we are wanting to share our faith, we must begin in prayer...praying over the person or persons we want to reach. Praying God will touch their hearts and open up the dialogue.

Religion is such a touchy subject because it forces us to realize we are not in control. There is Someone else who controls our future. It makes us think about the brevity of our lives and the hereafter.

The Bible tells us each of us will give an account to God (Romans 14:12), and that those who chose Him in this life will experience eternity with Him (John 3:16), but those who reject Him and go their own way, will experience His wrath (John 3:36).

Let's just face it, those are very heavy topics, yet, these are the most important things we will ever think about or act upon, for what we do here (in this life) affects what happens to us for all eternity. This is why those faith talks are so important, and why those who want to talk about faith do talk about it. They care. They may not go about correctly, but it comes from a tender heart.

For those of you who are believers, I would just encourage you to be Christ's hands and feet. Show others around you the love of God, but do not compromise when it means standing for what is right and what the Bible teaches.

Love those who are difficult to love. Don't force your thoughts on anyone, but prayerfully consider the ways you can show God's love and share His message of hope. I think in the end, you will find people actually do want to know what you believe and are watching to see if what you say and how you live line up.




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