What to do when Michael Scott is your boss

September 9, 2013

People in authority will do things that make your life difficult.

This can happen in a direct way, such as when your boss demotes you or berates you in front of your co-workers. It can also happen in an indirect way, like when a leader in government makes laws and policies that negatively impact your life.


Sometimes the intentions are good, such as when a parent disciplines their child in hopes they will behave better. Other times the intentions are bad like when an evil leader inflicts suffering on those they’re supposed to be protecting.

The big question for us, though, is “how should we respond when people in authority make life difficult?” For the follower of Jesus, the answer to that question is always the same: honor them.

Honor is both internal and external. It’s an attitude of humble respect that is accompanied by courtesy and even obedience. When you honor those in authority it goes well for you, when you dishonor those in authority it doesn’t.

Instead of honor, too often we choose revenge. Not the open, hostile kind but the more subtle kind. The behind-the-back kind. We’ll say negative things about them that might not actually be true but in our opinion they are. We’ll gossip about them. Or we’ll silently approve while others do the tearing down. After all, we reason, we’re too good to be doing the tearing down ourselves.

God, who loves us too much to see us become vengeful & dishonoring, says this:

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17, ESV)

There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1, NIV)

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17, NKJV)

Over the years, I’ve learned some things that make it possible to honor authority figures who make life difficult.

  1. Honoring people in authority isn’t as much about what they’ve done as much as it’s about what the Lord has done. They are in authority because God put them there. When you honor someone in authority, good or bad, it’s like you are honoring the God who put them there in the first place.
  2. Honor chooses to confront in love where revenge chooses to attack in hate. When you’ve been wronged or you disagree with a decision a leaders made or you feel someone’s acting in a way that’s unfair or unjust, the right & honorable thing to do is to confront them in love rather than become angry and attack them.
  3. Pride makes revenge possible whereas humility makes honor possible. The challenge to honor looks different for everyone. However, one thing that is always part of the equation is humility. You can’t honor without humility.
  4. Revenge’s reward is bitterness whereas honor’s reward is peace. Revenge might be sweet in the moment but over the long haul it destroys. It leaves you bitter & angry. God knows this and he loves us enough to say, “vengeance is mine, I’ll repay”. The reward is not in the payback but in the peace that comes when you trust Jesus to be just & to make sure that right is done.

In the end, honor is not about the person in authority as much as it’s about you. It’s about keeping your heart pure & free. Free from bitterness & hate and free to extravagantly love others, even those who mistreat you. Take the high road and choose honor.


By Rich Warriner. Rich is the lead pastor at CTK Ferndale. He and his wife Becky are raising their 5 children with a dog, rabbit, lizard, and 2 parakeets.

One comment

  1. Reblogged this on Rich.Warriner..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: