I started a new job recently – actually, it’s a new/old job.  It’s the same job I was working at six years ago when I left to pursue ministry… same position, same company.  How different things feel now though.  I haven’t quite grasped yet if it’s actually that the work environment has changed, or that it is just that my perspective has changed… or maybe a bit of both.  One of the things that has really gripped me is the “acceptable” use of foul language in the workplace – openly, often and in mixed company.  And on top of the foul language, is the “acceptable” topics of discussion – again, openly, often and in mixed company – sex, lust, promiscuity, drunkenness, cheating, greed and just intentional rudeness.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around the question – was it like this when I worked here before (I don’t remember it being like this), or was I just not as “sensitive” to it then as I seem to be now.  Either way, it’s appalling… to the point that I’ve talked to some people on the side – one on one.  I just couldn’t contain myself – I was cringing inside every time I listened.  I’ve even found my own self at times since starting this job, “thinking” words that normally are not part of my vocabulary – arg!! Being “new” on the crew, I’ve primarily begun by praying for them; for I know that it is only God who can change hearts and praying for myself that I don’t give-in to what’s acceptable – praying that the Lord would help me to be strong in the midst of it all and be a bright light for Him.  I hope I am not sounding “self-righteous” here, because I most assuredly am not.  It just breaks my heart knowing that this is not what God created them for.  He created them for so much more!

I’ve also noticed that there are some of those that I now work with who have “faith”, attend church and most likely call themselves a Christian who have fallen into the same use of “vocabulary”.  In fact, the other day, one gentleman, who I gathered from previous conversations that he attends church/bible studies and was a man of faith himself asked me, “Are you a man of faith?”  I replied that I was and he said that he could tell.  What he said after that surprised me – “Brian, if you hear anything strange or foul come out of my mouth, I don’t really mean it.”  Now, before I continue, again, I’m not trying to “slam” anyone here or put my co-workers in a “bad light” by any means.  I care about them greatly and pray for them often.  My point here is this – how easy is it for us, particularly Christians to fall into the same ways of the world.  We know better, but we do it anyway.  How and why does this happen?  Is it that we just want to fit in and be like everyone else?  If everyone else is doing it and the company management “accepts” it, it must be okay?  God says that we as believers should not give into the patterns of the world (Romans 12:1), but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  But, the way of the world would tell us “When in Rome… do as the Romans do.”  Well, I don’t think that’s exactly what God had in mind when He inspired Paul to write in 1 Corinthians 9 I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some…” As believers in Jesus Christ we are to be different.

“For you are a holy people unto the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” Deut. 14:2

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light…” 1 Peter 2:9

I say – When In Rome… Eat Tacos!  Be different… be peculiar… be an eyebrow raiser.  Live Holy unto the Lord – live as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and as one called out of darkness into His marvelous light!  God wants us to be different!  If you are struggling to have the courage to “be peculiar”, ask the Lord to give you strength and wisdom – He’ll do it. Now this doesn’t mean that we go around throwing our “holy weight” around – that’s not love.  It is love alone that changes things. “Knowledge puffs up, but Love builds…” 1 Corinthians 8:1

Honestly, when I first started this job in May, I was frustrated.  “God, why did you put my back here?  I’m not ‘like’ them… I don’t talk like them.  I don’t think like they do.  I feel out of place.”  I really struggled for a few weeks until one day He opened my spiritual eyes to see my co-workers in a “different light.”  He broke my heart and gave me a deep compassion for them.  He told me “Brian, just love them.  Look for opportunities to show kindness and compassion.  Just love them.”  Since that day, He has reminded me often that it is love that changes things.  I’ve tried to find ways to be “peculiar” in loving my co-workers – I’ve brought in yummy food, offered to pray for/with people who are struggling, shared my “stuff” with others, smiled and offered encouraging words, became interested in other’s needs, family, etc.  The bad language and inappropriate topics still bug me, but I’ve found other ways and “appropriate channels” to combat it.  And as I’ve tried my best to “eat tacos in Rome” and just love my co-workers God’s way through caring, compassion and kindness, I can definitely see that this is a way more powerful tool for change than getting angry or just doing nothing and accepting it.  Proverbs 20:28 says… through love, a king’s throne is made secure.

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Comments
  1. Kirk says:

    You are so right on, Brian. This is a difficult thing anywhere. We are to be in the world but not of the world and it’s definitely like walking a tightrope at times. My environment is a bit different from yours in that I work with predominantly women. If there is any “questionable” discussions, I usually am not involved.

    I would rather be a taco anytime than do what the Romans do. I’ve thought I was “different” for many years but not just because of my faith. I was the odd man out, the quiet one, Mr. Never Objects to Anything. I’ve worked hard to bite my tongue when sarcasm is ready to leap out at work and I try to be more light than “one of the boys.”

    Keep the faith. You are headed the right way and I will be praying for you. We need to be walking in His strength because no matter how “holy” we believe we are, we are susceptible to falling in line with the crowd at any moment. We need God’s constant renewal and sanctification to not sink to the level of those around us who don’t any better (and even those who should know better.”

    • Hey Bro – Thank you for reading and responding to my blogs. I was on Sarah’s blog this morning – It’s sad to hear of the young girl who passed away… in her mom’s arms. I can’t even imagine.

  2. Debra says:

    Brian,

    Thank you for this blog, I have been struggling with things similar, however a little different. Some of my family have begun thinking differently even saying they don’t believe in Jesus, that He was just a man and not the Son of God… they live differently… think, speak, act… differently. However when in Rome, I will eat tacos! I will be His light in the darkness and know that God is still, always, in control, Amen!

    Thank you for always sharing your heart and for writing so well. I love you with all my heart and thank God for you daily! xoxo

  3. Lois Hetzer says:

    Hey Brian, I’m so amazed at what you wrote, not that I don’t believe it came from your mouth/mind … just “wow” dude Michelle, Trevor (her husband) and myself are all on the same “page” per say … not being the “norm” anymore is such a wonderful feeling (do I hear an Amen!?!). Been a lot of years since we’ve had a real conversation … but dude I’m so thrilled to be on the same page as you and your family … Michelle and I had supper together tonight, prayed over our meal … hoped and prayed other people noticed!

    I will continue to pray for you and your work place, God put you there and HE will use you – that must make you feel down-right proud! Humble and proud, that sound better?

    Turned in my loan paper work this last week (up in Pt. Angeles/ Sequim area) … if I qualify it will be a “God thing” that is for sure … I’m trying real hard to listen to what God has to say … please continue to pray for me and my family.

    Love you. Your Auntie Lois.

    • Hey Aunt Lois – great hearing from you! Thank you for reading my blogs and giving feedback. I hope they continue to be an encouragement. Please feel free to share the link and you can also subscribe and you will receive the posts via email. Keep in touch! Love you!

  4. Yes – living in the world and not being “of it” is a daily battle! Thank you for the words of encouragement and I hope that we all gain wisdom and encouragement from each other! Please continue to give your feedback – I like to hear it!

  5. Deb says:

    Keep up the good work, this is good reading!

  6. Aaron DuBois says:

    Hey bro, good website. the message is great and the videos are funny. Keep it going so that God can richly bless and speak to others through your blogs and videos. Thanks!!

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