Yes, I have "A Case of The Mondays" I'm afraid.
I don't know about you, but lately I've been having a very tough time faithfully fulfilling one of my God-given vocations in this life.
In the professional position I have at the moment, there is one individual in particular who just makes coming to work each and every day (yes, even as a Christian) something I'm growing to hate more and more.
The fact that I know I'm not the only one who feels this way either is also proof positive that I'm guilty of breaking the 8th Commandment as well and failed to "put the best construction on things" when it comes to his words and actions around the place.
I know, I know! We Christians are supposed to be "loving" and able "turn the other cheek" while being "willing to suffer" for any and all reasons.
We're supposed to never have a "bad day" I suppose, right? And if we do, then we either have a "grumbling spirit" (Philippians 2:14), might not be a "true convert" even, or maybe both are true! Can you tell I've heard such things before?
Well, I'm sorry, but I'm failing miserably in this area of my life right now and could use your prayers please. Thanks be to God that I know that I have a Lord and Savior that offers me the forgiveness and grace I need to get by and get up to face each new day like it's a new beginning (which it is).
Ugh! But Mondays...
What do you do when you work with someone who walks around like they own the place?
What do you do when you work with someone who talks to people (including Senior Management) like they are the one really in charge?
What do you do when you work with someone whose main goal throughout the day is to catch anyone and everyone doing something wrong?
What do you do when you work with someone who plays the part of the "Buzz Kill" perfectly no matter what kind of good news there is to collectively celebrate?
What do you do when you work with someone who refuses to do their job, but expects everyone else to jump through hoops all the time?
What do you do when you work with someone who intentionally sabotages your work so that you not only have to stay late unexpectedly, but also have to work a full day by yourself on the weekend due to their intentional laziness?
What do you do when you work with someone who routinely takes credit for the hard work that you've done?
What do you do when you work with someone who has an excuse for everything and never faces any real consequences like the rest of us?
What do you do when you work with someone who lies repeatedly -- and everyone knows it -- and never gets reprimanded at all by management for it?
What do you do when you're at your desk for less than five minutes, and haven't even had your first sip of coffee yet, and this person walks by and mutters under his breath (though just loud enough so you can hear it!) "Let's start the day by stirring the pot!" only to return to your desk less than two minutes later to nag you about something he has no business badgering you about in the first place?
What do you do when you work with someone who gets under your skin so much that you begin to fantasize about "giving him a piece of your mind" and "telling him off" so you can feel better?
What do you do when you work with someone who you'd rather punch in the face instead of shake his hand?
Ok, can you tell I'm having some serious issues that I'm greatly concerned about? Never mind the practical, real-world solutions (like sitting down to talk to your boss about things). For me, I'm more concerned with the spiritual implications and I'm looking at myself in the mirror of the Law.
I suppose it starts with reminding myself of the many different things I read in God's Word that relates to these types of things. To name only a few...
Philippians 2:14-16 (ESV) 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Proverbs 15:4 (ESV) A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
James 3:2-12 (ESV) 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,a and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,c these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
1 Peter 3:9-12 (ESV) 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
Proverbs 26:20-21 (ESV) 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. 21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
Proverbs 22:10-11 (ESV) 10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. 11 He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
This problem of mine -- wait, no, I mean my reaction to these circumstances -- is indicative of the sinful human nature, which is selfish.
Ultimately, there are only two ways to live: by the "wisdom" of the world or by God's wisdom. The worldly pattern of selfishness, deception, hurtful words, and other evil behaviors are certainly condemned so to respond to sin with more sin would be counterproductive and...well...sinful.
Clearly, we Christians struggle with the very same sins like the ones that I have had committed against me by one of my co-workers. Of course, we're also presented with the temptation to present ourselves as holier than others too.
Truth is, I feel horrible about feeling this way -- absolutely horrible! That's the other part of this equation; it's not all him.
See, I know that my attitude and body language and tone is showing signs of that sin that's growing within my heart toward this one person in particular at work, but I just can't seem to love someone who my mind is telling me is truly unlovable.
What a joke that is, isn't it though? I mean, after all, Jesus Christ certainly loved me enough to die for me in my place even though I did far worse to Him than this person has done or will ever do to me (Romans 5:8 "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us").
Thankfully, God's mercy manifested itself as a clear answer to my prayers the other morning when I opened my By Faith Alone Daily Devotion and read the following by Martin Luther...
How The World Rewards Service
Genesis 39:19-20 (ESV) 19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison.
Losing his good reputation and being thrown in prison was certainly Joseph's worst hardship. What disgraceful wages he received for his years of faithful service! All of his impeccable character and hard work were rewarded with punishment and a ruined reputation. We serve, teach, counsel, comfort, and do what God tells us to do. For the most part, we do this for undeserving people from whom we get nothing in return except hatred, envy, and suffering. It seems that our lives are wasted on being kind to people who don't appreciate it. Don't ever expect the world to acknowledge or reward your faithfulness and hard work. The opposite often happens, as Joseph's life shows. Therefore, make sure that you direct your service and life elsewhere. Don't look for favor and kindness from the world. Its favor can quickly turn into furious anger. If you are called as a pastor or teacher, or if you are in some other position, set this goal for yourself: I will do my job faithfully without expecting any reward from the people I serve. I won't assume that they will be grateful to me. Rather, I will bless others the same way my heavenly Father hands out his blessings. He gives money, talents, peace, and health to even the most ungrateful and evil people. I will remember Christ's command, "You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). This means that we must serve people who are wicked, undeserving, and ungrateful. A few will acknowledge our service and thank us. But the others might even threaten our lives. Joseph's example shows us what reward we can expect from the world for even the greatest of kindness -- being tied up and thrown in prison.
In God's providence, I was instantly shown by His holy Word that things are not nearly as bad as I think they are, and that my situation isn't all that unique or out of the ordinary. However, I was shown that my response to it all was wrong and sinful.
How different is the wisdom of God! He has purified us in Christ and freed us from the stain of the world. We now walk in the works He has prepared for us to do.
In a Lutheran layman's terms, I will pray that the Lord will not only remind me of these truths found in His Word, but that He will purify me so that my own words may uplift, strengthen, bring peace where there is strife, and bring sincerity where there is falsehood.
Most of all, I will pray that He will use my lips to speak His glory, to tell others of His wonderful deeds, and to proclaim His salvation...even to people like my co-worker who do his best to cause me to have "A Case of The Mondays" on every day of the week.
I will pray for the help I need to love this sinner (a sinner like me) while hating his sins.
NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!