Summary: The attitudes I must have in order for others to enjoy working with me.


Part 2 of 6 of the series "When Relationships Disappoint You, How to Find God’s Peace in the Pain"

I originally titled this week’s message "When You Work With a Jerk," but as I continued studying the Scriptures a different perspective presented itself.

The Bible talks a lot more about my responsibilities to others than their responsibilities to me.

Please let that truth sink in.

I wonder how many times in life that I have viewed a problem from the wrong end? How many times have I started with the other person when I should have begun with my self? Instead of saying my wife needed to change perhaps it was I who needed to change. Instead of worrying so much about how someone else should treat me should I have worried more about how I should be treating others?

Let me see if I can explain.

The Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself." It doesn’t say, "Tell your neighbor to love you." I am not accountable to God for how my neighbor treats me but I am accountable for how I treat my neighbor.

There are many similar comments like this in the Word of God.

Instead of worrying as much about how my co-workers behave on the job I need to ask myself, "How am I doing? Do I behave in ways that make working with me agreeable and productive?"

If we take this perspective the question becomes "How am I behaving toward others?" rather than always asking, "How are others treating me?" This change in thinking will revolutionize our relationships, our emotional well being, and our spirituality.

And this thought is not just for my place of employment. How well do I work with others at home; in the community; at church? How easy am I to work with while I’m volunteering to do something for God? I want to ask you to apply the biblical principles we’re covering today to all of work in your life.

Let’s set the stage with an article from called, "Are You the Jerk at Work?"

"We are all jerks sometimes. After all, we’re overworked and overstressed along with everyone else. With competition for good people increasing, it’s important to define and assess your own "jerk-like" behaviors -- and once you identify them -- decide to change.

We’ve asked thousands of people to describe what they mean by a jerk. Here is a sample of the 50 (yes, 50!) jerk-like behaviors we’ve found. How many do you occasionally, accidentally exhibit?


Condescend or demean

Act arrogant

Withhold praise

Slam doors, pound tables


Behave rudely

Belittle people in front of others


Manage up, not down

Always look out for number one

Give mostly negative feedback

Yell at people

Tell lies or "half-truths"

Act above the rules

Humiliates and embarrasses others

Always have to be in control

If you exhibit none of the behaviors above, you’re either a saint or you have a few blind spots. In other words, most of us exhibit some of these behaviors some of the time. The question is, how many and how often? And what effect does your behavior have on the people who report to you?

Our ongoing research on this topic is revealing. We continue to ask the survey question, "What ’jerk-like’ behaviors would make you walk right out the door?" The top five responses are these. People will walk if their boss:

Belittles them in front of others -- 40.5%

Lies -- 34.2%

Condescends or demeans -- 31.5%

Humiliates and embarrasses others -- 23.9%

Micromanages -- 21.9%"

You can see from that article that working with jerks can be unpleasant. God doesn’t want us to be unpleasant people to work with. We’re His representatives wherever we go whatever we do. So He gives us clear and practical help on making sure we’re not the jerk at work.

What does the Bible say?

First of all, if I’m not going to be a jerk to work with I must...


Many are surprised that this is indeed a Bible ethic but look at what the Word of God says.

"Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (GNT)

I need to learn to do my work and do it well - my own work. I don’t need to stick my nose into other people’s work - not unless I’m in supervision and even then micromanaging has proven to be a very ineffective style of leading. Control freaks turn people off. Control freaks don’t motivate people they irritate people!

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