How to Respond to Unfair Treatment

Laban and Associates was probably not the greatest place in the world to work.  But Jake was in love with the boss's daughter, Rachel, so he was willing to put up with almost anything to have a relationship with her.  As a matter of fact, after Jake worked 7 years to pay off his debt with Mr. Laban (his father-in-law-to-be), he deceived Jake and upped the ante so that Jake had to work 7 more years to pay the debt in full.  Some boss!  Some father-in-law!

This is a true story, found in Genesis 29 and "Jake" is actually Jacob who worked for Laban, the father of his gorgeous (vs. 17) fiancée.  After seven years of hard labor, Laban tricked and deceived Jacob, and in order to actually marry Rachel, Jacob had to promise to work for an additional 7 years for his dishonest and untrustworthy boss.  At best, this relationship between employee and employer must have been very strained at times.

What do you do if you feel like you are being treated unfairly by the company?  Deceived in some great or small way?  How do you react when an injustice punches you between your vocational eyes?  It happens everyday somewhere.  So, as a Christian, how do you handle it?  What does the Lord expect of you when/if you get the shaft? 

First, you strike back with full fury!  Get even big-time!  Just kidding. (Just wanted to make sure you are awake this morning and paying attention!)  Actually Jacob's response, though limited in record, is very helpful to us.  First, he obviously controlled his spirit in spite of his certain and intense frustration.  He did not "go off the deep end" even though many of his contemporaries would not have blamed him if he had.  "Like a city that is broken down and with out walls is a man who has not control over his spirit."  (Prov. 25:28)  Self-control.  Check!   

Second, there seems to be absolutely no retaliation on his part although he must have been seriously tempted!  We naturally want to hit back or find a way to even the score.  We will never distinguish ourselves as different "in Christ" to anyone, however, if all we do is "exchange blows."  "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord (Deut. 32:35).  The "get even" mentality is not of God.   It is a carnal response that cannot be our standard procedure.  Jacob would wait on God to take care of the situation. Patience.  Check. 

Third, Jacob continues to work faithfully even though he has been shafted.  Can you imagine Laban's surprise when Jacob actually grits it out for another 7 years?  When you turn the cheek to another's manipulative or devious ways it is definitely an attention getter, especially if you do so with a gracious spirit!  Jesus said, "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either."  (Luke 6:27)  Now that is easier said than done; but do it, and you've just distinguished yourself in a huge way for Christ's sake.  Kindness.  Check! 

Finally, Jacob was working for Laban, true.  But he was working for a whole lot more!  In the big picture, He ultimately was working for the girl that He believed was God's choice for him.  As a matter of fact, when he first saw her and understood her to be the answer to his prayers and God's plan, he kissed her (vs. 11) and was so overwhelmed that he broke down and wept!   (Interesting first date!)  The point is that he saw his daily work and his workplace experience as a vehicle facilitating the work of God in and through Him.  No wonder he kept himself together and avoided a melt down with his boss. Godly perspective. Check.

Your workplace challenge is to employ these four characteristics (self-control, patience, kindness, and godly perspective) in your workplace with your employer, supervisor, and company employees today and always.  Be careful not to jump to conclusions.  If you think you've been short-changed, inquire graciously about the matter.  Maybe there has been an oversight or an honest mistake on someone else's part.  Don't assume.  Communicate and always give your boss and organization the benefit of the doubt before you respond.  And when you respond, remember Jacob's example. God's Word and God's ways will help you through it!  Have a wonderful and productive day and make it count for His glory!