Difficult Boss Relationship

I once worked for someone who, in my opinion, had no clue what he was doing. I considered him incompetent, aloof, and someone who expected others to pick up his slack. After all, he had inherited the company and not really earned it. He provided no strategic direction or guidance and led with self-centered objectives. I had no respect for him and freely expressed my opinion. I spoke disrespectfully behind his back and did not submit to his leadership. I would have qualified him as an “unreasonable” boss. I’m ashamed to admit that I did not respond to this situation in a biblical way and ended up leaving the organization.

There are many passages of Scripture dealing with work and masters (or bosses) but let’s focus on just one for this topic. In the book of 1 Peter, the Apostle Peter encourages persecuted believers to “prepare your minds for action” and “set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Peter then goes on to tell us how to do to be godly witnesses and examples despite extreme persecution. Although most of our workplaces do not qualify as places of extreme persecution, there are biblical principles we can learn from in these words. I encourage you to read the longer passage in context (1 Peter 2:12-21), including: Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle    but also to the unjust” (1 Peter 2:18).

One caveat: We must remember the context of this passage. Peter is writing to Christians who have experienced, and perhaps fled, extreme persecution and oppression. This passage is “not” directing Christians that the “only” biblical option is to remain in an extremely oppressive or abusive environment. We are never commanded to blindly submit to human leadership. The Bereans questioned and verified apostolic teaching and pursued spiritual righteousness (Acts 17:11). Peter is stating that this particular situation is the “best” option for them right now and gives direction on how to deal with and handle it from a biblical perspective. So, if the best option for you right now is to remain in your current situation, there are appropriate biblical ways to handle it.

Read the whole chapter in Biblical HR.

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Biblical HR is a tremendous resource for Christians in the workplace, regardless of their role, level, responsibility, or specific workplace situation.

Shawn Hearn
Former Chief Human Resources Officer – Michael’s Stores, Inc., Founder G2G Consulting