Countering aggressiveness at work

Few of us have trouble recognizing an overly aggressive business person. Perhaps we even recognize a bit of our own behavior in such an individual. But not many really want to think of themselves as ''aggressive.''

We can counter aggressive behavior in ourselves and others, and we can do so quietly, yet firmly and without hard feelings. How?

In a familiar Bible account, Daniel found himself thrown to the lions over a question of worship. A group of underlings had persuaded the king to sign a decree making it illegal to petition any god or man other than himself for thirty days. These plotters wanted to trap Daniel into violating the decree. But Daniel met the aggression on his terms, not theirs. He maintained his practice of praying three times daily to his God, the one Spirit. The king was compelled, then, to throw Daniel into the lions' den. Once there, however, Daniel was protected. He confronted the lions just as he had the unjust law -- on his own terms, which were his love and faithfulness to the one God. ''My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me,'' n1 Daniel explained afterward.

n1 Daniel 6:22.

Daniel was not blind to the threats posed by his enemies. But he refused to deal with them on their terms. Instead, he acted through his understanding of God and His almightiness.

How can we be as certain as Daniel when facing the lions of our times? We can begin by getting a better understanding of ourselves and of our relationship to God. As the Bible clearly implies, man's being is rooted in God. No part of our identity is ever separated from Him. All the varied qualities making up our individuality come from God, the Father-Mother. And our actual, God-created selfhood is spiritual and good, because God is Spirit, infinite good. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.'' n2

n2 Science and Health,m p. 258.

As we go about our daily activities - and especially as these bring us into contact with others -- we can be certain that all the strength and intelligence and presence of mind necessary come from a single source -- God. Our divine source is all we have, and it's all we need. Then, if we're confronted by aggressive behavior, we'll neither wilt under it nor react to it with aggression of our own. On the contrary, because we know who we really are, we'll be able to think and speak and make decisions in a way that reflects the love we feel for God and for others, and for ourselves as well.

Some believe that aggressiveness is a must in business and industry these days. You can't be successful without it, they say. Perhaps underlying this contention is the fear that without living competitively, putting others down, one will fail to provide for himself or his family.

Yet there are many Biblical teachings and illustrations that reveal God as man's provider. Yes, work is necessary. But isn't the basis and purpose of our work to do God's will and to express His perfect nature? In a very fundamental way, the meeting of our daily needs is God's responsibility alone.

As we trust ourselves and our family to God's care, we'll approach work from a higher motive than merely maintaining an income. We'll begin to see that there is little reason to hustle or compete or slide into aggressive practices that really are foreign to us. The truth of man's relationship to God, understood and cherished, can heal us as individuals and also eliminate the raw edges of competitive tension among groups in the work place.

Sometimes a mortal can be quite overbearing. Other mortals may feel weak and uncertain. But man isn't really a mortal. As we identify ourselves and others through prayer each day as God's immortal, pure representatives, neither label will apply to us. And what we know will spill over to others as well. DAILY BIBLE VERSE In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15

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