Beware the Ides of March: How Christian Leaders Can Handle Betrayal Well
Though we all strive to work with people we trust, betrayal in professional settings can still happen, even in faith-based contexts. Despite the fact that 85 percent of betrayals in business are unintentional, the consequences still exist, and the emotions that come with them are real. How should a Christian leader handle betrayal in the workplace? There are a few ways we can respond that address the issue without compromising our faith.
- Remember that we are all sinners and everyone makes mistakes. Though it does not excuse sinful behavior entirely, keeping in mind that none of us is perfect and that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) will help us keep perspective, cultivate compassion and minimize our anger.
- Address the betrayal in private. As leaders, it is appropriate and necessary to address the situation directly, but doing it privately maintains respect for the other person and aligns with God’s word in how he would have us address sin in a collective context (Matthew 18:15). It minimizes the potential for gossip or a resulting unhealthy work environment.
- Forgive. We are certainly entitled to our feelings — in fact, we should engage them rather than repress them — but ultimately we are called as Christians to forgive those who trespass against us (Matt. 6:9-15). This means letting go of bitterness and anger toward the person who betrayed us (Eph. 4:31). Our relationship with that person may change, but we do not harbor ill will toward them any longer.
- Allow for natural consequences. Though we are called to forgive, there are certainly consequences for sinful behavior. Allow natural and logical consequences to run their course. If company policies or rules were broken, or if the person was dishonest or compromised the organization, there may be practical grounds for firing or other negative consequences.
- Move on to solving the problem rather than dwelling on blame and what could have been done differently. Now that the betrayal has been addressed, the consequences have run their course and you have forgiven the betrayer, it’s time to move on to solving the problem. Do you have a vacancy to fill? Do you have a mess to clean up, so to speak? Rather than assigning blame or dwelling on what could have been, it’s time to focus on solving the problem at hand and letting go of the betrayal.