I have a good friend who really likes his job - except for one thing. The owner of the company manages it by shouting and screaming.
It's not a technique recommended by any of the current business gurus I've come across. And my friend would not recommend it either. In fact, those angry bursts often lead to poorly thought out decisions, which then have to be worked around carefully in order not to harm the business in progress.
Unfortunately, lots of people are in work situations where displays of anger and temper are common. And mostly, if they want to keep their jobs, the only option is to take it.
Or is it?
True, responding in kind simply proves self-destructive. Sullen silence is unproductive. And just taking it wears a person out. But it is possible to rise in spiritual protest. And, through this, to achieve a better working environment.
What is "spiritual protest"? How do we go about it? In order to engage in this kind of protest, we need to ask ourselves, "Whom do I acknowledge as God? My boss, or the divine Spirit?" It may be simple to say "Spirit." But then we need to examine our thinking more closely. Do I think my life - and the quality of my life - are determined by my boss or by God? Who am I most dependent on? Who has the greatest power?
The Bible is a progressive revelation of the omnipotence of good. In addition, the Bible illustrates over and over again that God, infinite good, is an effective, ever-present help. Take Daniel's situation, for instance (see Dan., Chap. 6). He found himself in a pretty dicey work environment. He had the king's ear, but that made other people jealous. So they devoted their time to finding a way to get rid of him. Daniel was not in favor simply because he flattered the king, though. His work was excellent. In fact, they couldn't bring any work-related charge against him.
So they formed a plan that deceived the king. They had him sign a law that they knew would make Daniel pay the ultimate penalty - being thrown into a den of man-eating lions.
But Daniel was a man who served God even more than he served the king. He knew God was omnipotent. He knew his life wasn't in his colleagues' hands. Or even in the king's hands. His life was only in the hands of God. God governed his life; others did not. So as his habit was, Daniel turned to God in prayer.
And his prayer was answered. When the king came to the lions' den, where Daniel had spent an entire night, he found Daniel still alive. Daniel said, "O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt."
When we know that God is in control of our lives, we can step back from a charged situation and remind ourselves that God is there. We can acknowledge that the good power and government of God are in our workplace at that very moment. God rules in the hearts of everyone there because God made everyone there. An-ger is not in control - not if God is. Passion doesn't rule in our hearts - not if God does. The realization that God is present is an effective spiritual protest against temper.
Thinking these spiritual ideas, we can see Christ, the divine Truth, at work right where anger has seemed to be rampant. If we meet every outburst with a protest: "No, God is in this place" - and understand what that means - we'll feel the peace that comes from God. Greater harmony and order will appear in our lives. It may take persistence, but like a firefighter with a hose, stick to it until the fire is out.
When determined to acknowledge that we are all in God's presence and are all governed by the divine Spirit, we're less impressed by discord. That's because we're devoting our energies to being conscious of God's messages - to praying.
As stated in the Christian Science textbook, "Let discord of every name and nature be heard no more, and let the harmonious and true sense of Life and being take possession of human consciousness" (Mary Baker Eddy, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 355). You can do this. Try it! When you do, you'll find yourself in a far better work environment.