Because the secular workplace is often a reflection of the culture where it functions, this question isn’t a surprising one. I’d love to offer up a quick “Yes, get out!” or “No, stay put.”
But like many other decisions, it’s not that simple. While some Christians apply their God-given skills within organizations that align with their values, many others are called to glorify God within settings that starkly reveal the gap between biblical and secular worldviews.
At its core, this is a question about the dissonance between your biblical convictions and the viewpoints of your employer. Let’s start by anchoring ourselves in two foundational reminders before we get to some practical advice.
1. Non-Christians won’t act like Christians.
If you weren’t a Christian, you probably wouldn’t lose any sleep over your employer’s stance. We sometimes forget that. It’s no surprise when our non-Christian teammates and leaders don’t submit to the commands of Scripture.
It’s no surprise when our non-Christian teammates and leaders don’t submit to the commands of Scripture.
While we remain alert for opportunities to plant seeds (1 Cor. 3:7), we also know the gate is narrow and those who find it are few (Matt. 7:13–14). My point? Many won’t share your Christian beliefs. Just as you aim to act in accordance with your worldview, others will act in accordance with theirs.
Should you refrain from sinning yourself? Of course. Should you shine that light bright and love your coworkers well? You bet. Should you pray for your leaders as they make tough decisions? Absolutely. Should you allow yourself to have a bad attitude when your employer isn’t acting in a godly way? Not so fast (1 Pet. 2:18).
2. Your workplace isn’t meant to serve as the compass for your soul.
It’s not easy to see a system we’re part of espousing ideas that are counter to our worldview. It can even be a little disorienting, as we so clearly see the brokenness of the world we live in. While we should take offense to the things that offend our Lord, there’s no need to lose our footing. God is still seated on his throne, and the world is still insignificant compared to his greatness (Isa. 66:1).
Our workplace won’t always provide us with wise cues for living a Christian life. It’s important to remind ourselves that our workplace isn’t meant to serve as our moral authority or the compass for our souls. The sacred position of lordship over our lives belongs to our Creator.
Joseph didn’t acquiesce to worshiping the Egyptian gods while working for Pharaoh. Just the same, we can often do our work well without falling in line with the secular customs or immoral stances of our workplace.
With those foundational truths in mind, let’s get back to the question at hand.
1. Consider your proximity and participation.
Start by considering your personal proximity to (and participation in) any activity that conflicts with your biblical convictions.
Let’s say Tom plays golf every month with a non-Christian friend, Jason. Tom learns Jason is having an extramarital affair. Tom can, and arguably should, continue golfing with Jason. It’s possible God will even use their friendship to draw Jason to faith. But should Tom encourage the affair and affirm Jason’s behavior? Should Tom pay for a hotel room and call a rideshare service for Jason to make the affair easier?
Every job requires us to work in the presence of sin.
You see where I’m going with this. Proximity and participation matter. Every job requires us to work in the presence of sin. The goal of the Christian life is not to remain in complete isolation from anyone who has ever disobeyed the commands of Scripture. That would be neither realistic nor fruitful.
Our responsibility is to act in ways that honor our Creator, to avoid causing others to stumble, and to remain ever open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
2. Seek wisdom from God.
Christian decision-making doesn’t rest squarely on the shoulders of human understanding. It doesn’t fit into a neatly organized decision tree of binary questions. (I know this because I’ve tried.) We’ll always make our best decisions when we walk in step with our Counselor, the Holy Spirit.
Spend time investigating what God’s Word says about your specific situation and pray for wisdom and discernment. Below are a few questions to ask yourself as you prayerfully consider your options.
- Does my job require me to participate in something that goes against my biblical convictions?
- Does my job require me to publicly endorse something that goes against my biblical convictions?
- Will it cause others to stumble if I continue to work here?
- Have I pursued available “opt-outs” in regard to activities, attire, or public statements that go against my beliefs?
- How can God use me in this setting for his glory? How can I give others an accurate representation of Jesus through my behavior?
- What are the God-honoring options within this specific situation?
There’s a lot to think about when making such a decision. This is a complicated issue, and it will continue to be a complicated issue in coming years. There are no easy answers. Some people will make faithful decisions to remain, others will make faithful decisions to leave.
As you consider both the practical and spiritual factors at play, be sure to seek the counsel of mature believers in your church who know you and your situation. Consider asking those in your Bible study, your elders, or your pastor for their advice.
And remember: God is on your side. When asked in faith, he provides wisdom “generously to all and without reproach” (James 1:5). He won’t leave you in the dark.
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