Years ago a friend of mine was employed to install a new computerized accounting system for a medium-sized company. He came in after the software had been chosen, and it didn’t quite live up to expectations. He did his best, but there were a few glitches as the system came online.
He was working hard and doing what he thought was a good job, when out of the blue he was taken aside and sacked on the spot. Apparently his boss had copped a bit of flak from the board about the difficulties with the new system, so had blamed my friend (behind his back) in order to protect herself. He had received no negative feedback before this. He told me that besides feeling upset and angry he also had fantasies of revenge, which thankfully he never carried out.
Stop and consider: Have you ever experienced injustice at work? How did you react?
God can help
Maybe you didn’t get that pay rise you were expecting. “Times are tough”, they tell you, “maybe next year”. Maybe your boss claimed the credit for your work on a project, or blamed you for their mistake. Maybe you’ve been overlooked for a promotion that went to a friend of the boss instead. Maybe you feel the injustice of having to keep delivering the same work output with less staff. Maybe your boss takes his or her bad moods out on you with verbal abuse.
How do we respond to all this? How is it possible to keep standing tall and behaving well whilst swallowing the bitter pill of injustice? (Assuming you can’t just leave—see footnote below.)
The Bible has much advice and comfort to give when you find yourself in this situation. Here are some helpful things to remember:
1. God commends you for bearing up under the pain of unjust suffering. It’s a virtue not to retaliate but to continue to do good in this situation:
Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. (1 Pet 2:18-19, NIV)
2. Jesus always continued to do good even when he was treated unjustly. Evil men strung the innocent Son of God up on a cross, yet he didn’t retaliate:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (1 Pet 2:21-23)
3. God will bring justice to you one day. Notice in the passage above that Jesus “entrust[ed] himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet 2:23). Jesus knows that on the day of judgement, God will bring justice.
4. Continuing to do good to those who treat you unjustly will lead to opportunities to share the gospel message (1 Pet 3:14-15; Titus 2:9-10).
5. God is powerful and able to change your situation. The apostle Paul recognized how important the prayers of the Corinthians were in him being delivered from danger:
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. (2 Cor 1:10-11a, NIV)
I know it’s not easy, but God can help you bear up under unjust suffering at work, be that now or in the future.
Pray: For other Christians and for yourself, ask God to help you keep trusting in his goodness as you bear up under unjust suffering.
Footnote: Are we slaves today in our jobs? The answer is yes and no. Some people are able to leave their jobs and escape injustice by finding a better ‘master’. Many, however, are stuck in their jobs and unable to leave because of the fear of not finding another one. They have a mortgage to pay and a family to support. This situation is more like slavery because there is less freedom to opt out.