Before his coronation as king, David spent many years as either Saul’s court musician, as one of his military commanders, or as a hunted fugitive. Regardless of how Saul treated him, David still gave him his support and referred to Saul as “king,” “lord,” and “the Lord’s anointed.”
One time Saul hunted for David in the wilderness of Engedi with 3,000 men. David and his men were hiding in a cave when Saul himself entered to relieve himself. David’s men urged him to take his revenge. They told him that God gave him this opportunity to kill Saul. But David rebuked them and only cut off a corner of the king’s garment. When Saul left the cave, David showed himself—and the corner of Saul’s garment. David explained that his actions demonstrated that he supported the king, even though the king was against him (1 Samuel 24).
Even if you think your boss is out to get you, your relationship with your boss is not as bad as it was for David. But even though Saul wanted David dead, David still honored the king with his support—and you should honor your boss with your support.
In Scripture, John rebuked Diotrephes for his lack of support (3 John 9-10). Looking at what Diotrephes didn’t do to support John, here are three things you should do to support your boss.
1. Support your boss with your words
John mentioned that Diotrephes was “talking wicked nonsense against us” (3 John 10). His words no doubt caused problems for John because he took the time to mention it to Gaius in his letter. John also suggested that Diotrephes’ actions actually “imitate evil” (3 John 11).
The things you say to others in the workplace will either “imitate evil” or “imitate good.” You get to choose whether your words will be supportive or unsupportive. Now, if your boss is doing illegal things, then by all means you should report that to the appropriate authorities. However, if you merely don’t like what your boss is doing, then do not badmouth him or her. Your boss is accountable to God for his or her words. And you are accountable to God for yours.
2. Support your boss with your actions
John said that Diotrephes “refuses to welcome the brothers” who came to Gaius from another place (3 John 10). Not only did Diotrephes speak against John, he avoided helping those who John commended to Gaius. As a result, Gaius did not receive the support he ought to have had from Diotrephes.
Evaluate your boss’s strengths and weaknesses. How can you enhance his or her strengths? How can you fill in for his or her weaknesses? If you were the boss, what kind of support would you need in your position? Be the kind of support to your boss that you would want to have. If you support your boss, you will find that your influence with your boss will grow.
You can always choose to leave your place of employment. However, if you choose to stay, you should actively support your boss. Like Saul, your boss is accountable to God for his or her actions, just as you are accountable for yours.
3. Help others support the boss with their actions
John explained that Diotrephes “stops those who want to [welcome the brothers] and puts them out of the church” (3 John 10). Diotrephes was not content to refuse to welcome the brothers; he didn’t want anyone else to welcome them and actively worked against them.
Like David, be willing to encourage others to support your boss. He or she is in authority over you, and you should be willing to acknowledge that authority. After all, you chose to work there. By staying there, you are choosing to remain under that authority.
By supporting your boss, you are supporting an authority who God has placed in that position. And your support of that authority will be met with God’s approval (Romans 13:3).
This article has been adapted from the #1 international bestselling book, Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew.
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