Maybe you work in a place where talk is permissible on the condition that work isn't slowed. You know, basic small talk and minor chit chat before things get busy.
However, there are always deeper conditions that seem to arise when there's a problem. For instance, you and your coworker are having a lively debate about evolution and the age of the earth when the boss walks in. He may immediately stop the conversation by giving directions for busy work, but you know there will soon be that dreadful awkward conversation in his office. You know the conversation I'm talking about right? It's the one where you're alone in receiving the lecture on how you shouldn't bring up anything religious or political in the workplace. The reason we get this lecture is because religion has a tendency to cause division and arguments. You might be let off with a warning or a write up, but the other guy isn't even talked to for some reason.
Then, during a much busier time, you hear your boss getting into a heated discussion with someone over whether or not such-and-such sports team is going to win the what's-it-called tournament. Work isn't getting done... Just arguing.
Or two of your coworkers are arguing about how eating a well done steak is a waste of food vs. eating steak while it's still mooing. Still no work done... Just a lot of arguing.
Or someone's trying to tell you that you're poisoning yourself because you don't eat organic vegetables and lectures you on how what you're doing is the real problem with the world. Still no work getting done... Just a whole lot of arguing.
Does any of this seem fair? I don't think so, but this is a typical situation for Christians in the workplace. I'm in no way saying we have never done anything to deserve punishment, but the fact that we're usually the ones who get blamed when someone else gets mad gets a little annoying after a while.
So what do we do about this? What does the Bible say when we feel singled out even over seemingly dumb stuff? It says this:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
Obviously, we need to remember that Christ in our lives will naturally cause division. But there's more to it:
"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men."
This is among the many challenges Christians face in the world today. It's been well said that working with people wouldn't be so hard if people weren't involved. Nevertheless, we as Christians need to not only share the Gospel with the world, but to live as shining examples as well.
*NOTE* Being a Christ-like example isn't a substitute for evangelism, nor is evangelism a substitute for being a Christ-like example.
So why is it so much of a challenge to do this? I mean, if the world knows we love them and are looking out for their best interests, shouldn't they be grateful? Well, unfortunately, there are 2 things wrong here. First, they probably don't know. Why? Because nobody told them. Secondly, they might know, but have conviction that drives them to justify their sinful lifestyle. In justifying their sin, they take everything wrong in the world and blame it on the Christians. Are the Christians actually responsible for everything wrong in the world? Of course not! But it doesn't mean we're perfect. We need to remember that and give ourselves grace. In doing so we'll naturally by extension share this grace with the world.
In conclusion: Don't forget that we're not going to make everybody happy, but we need to make sure that we're not actively making them angry. Pray for people, show them you care and most importantly, share the Gospel with them.
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one."