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Check this video from hr360 on the downside of office romance and sexual harassment and how to prevent it from happening..
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Sunday, 17th of November 2019
Blog link: https://www.otakada.org/lets-talk-about-sex-in-the-workplace
Nuggets of Wisdom – From Life’s Experiences
“They call me ‘the preacher’ at work. That title provides more of a challenge for me. Just this morning I went into work and this woman in the office came over to ask me something. She leaned up against me in a provocative way. I just pulled back like 1 didn’t notice and walked away . . Every morning I get up and ask for protection from scandalous sin. I get this from the Lord’s Prayer: Lead us not into temptation. -Professional Christian businessman
“In the past, 1 did not think much about being behind closed doors with a man. Now, I am careful about how often and the amount of time a door is closed even if nothing is inappropriate, I try to be sensitive to putting myself and someone else in a potentially compromising position. “ – Professional Christian businessman
“It would be nice if we could step back and take a look at our own behavior and see ourselves as others see us. That might make us stop [questionable behavior more quickly.” – Professional Christian businessman, speaking about his own behavior in an office setting
“We need to understand what is expected of us from our superiors—and what the Lord expects. Then we need to operate with integrity and diligence and not with an attitude of constantly looking around at what others are doing. Because most businesses do not operate by biblical standards, this criterion may be hard to determine. In fact, many businesses operate against biblical principles. Thus, when we feel threatened because of feelings of inadequacy, we need to be on guard as to where we turn for comfort.”
“We simply cannot have unlimited relationships with members of the opposite sex and expect to have controlled relationships. But what kind of limits? In work relationships, time should be structured around the need to accomplish the work. To fill a lot of time with long meals and idle conversation can be a danger sign”
Key verses for Today:
1 Peter 2:20 The Message (MSG)
The Kind of Life He Lived
18-20 You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting the punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.
Matthew 5:27-32 Message
Adultery and Divorce
27-28 “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.
29-30 “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
31-32 “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
Matthew 7:21-23 The Message (MSG)
21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
Matthew 15:18-20 The Message (MSG)
16-20 Jesus replied, “You, too? Are you being willfully stupid? Don’t you know that anything that is swallowed works its way through the intestines and is finally defecated? But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Eating or not eating certain foods, washing or not washing your hands—that’s neither here nor there.”
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 The Message (MSG)
11-12 These are all warning markers—danger! —in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
Exodus 20:14 –17
14 No adultery.
15 No stealing.
16 No lies about your neighbor.
17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.
Dear friends, as we draw close to the end of our episode on the Christian Church, Let’s Talk About Sex – Understanding the Entrapment of Emotional and Sexual Entanglement, we would like to highlight these last series which will talk on the world of work, the business world, professional behavior in the workplace and lastly focusing on the singles, we hope and pray for the Christian church that this series would have armed you all with the ammunition you need to run the Christian race with a difference.
I have brought up this series because I have realized that rarely do we teach about sex from our pulpit. Yet our homes, which is the bedrock of society have suffered untold consequences as a result of the issue of sexual and emotional entrapment and entanglement either in marriages, outside marriages, in schools, in our offices or our marketplaces and in the environment giving birth to MeeToo Movements, Gender Inequality struggles, Sex for Marks in our Universities, Sex for promotions in the workplace, Sex for Transfer, Sex for privileges, Sex for Contracts etc. These developments come as a shock to many believers who are ill-prepared to handle such enormous temptations they have to endure or else they become victims of workplace pressures. There is a need for mentorship on this subject matter.
I also hope and pray that church leaders will equip their members with more of these types of topic that has become so prevalent in our day and age, especially with the advent of the digital world.
In this series, we explore the following:
- Unique dynamics of the office and relationship
- Competition in the workplace
- Unlimited Time and Limited Relationships in the workplace
- Common Interest in the workplace
- Manipulation in the workplace
- How does the homemaker respond?
- How does a man married to a working woman respond, where both work?
- What could help families stand and not fall?
Let’s dive in—–
The World of Work – The Business World
Unique dynamics of the office and relationships
Working in an office is a fact of life for many men and for a growing number of women, too. It is so much a part of everyday life that many of us tend to take it for granted. We get up, go to work, leave work, go home, sleep, and go to work again. It takes up one-third of our twenty-four hours in a day. The primary exception to this routine is the mother who is at home raising children. We will look at her relation to the “office phenomenon” at the end of this chapter.
We go to work routinely with little thought to the uniqueness of our workplace. There are volumes of books on the atmosphere, attitudes, activities, and structure of the home. There are also volumes published on the business world with regard to management, strategies, attitudes for success, and effectiveness in business.
But what about books on the unique dynamics of the office and relationships in that arena where we spend so much of our time? There are factors in our work world that greatly affect our thinking and behavior, that challenge our morals and integrity. We are aware of these as they relate to the business we are engaged in, but we need to also be aware of them with regard to the way we relate to the people around us.
Electricity. Energy. Motion. Excitement. Stress. Pressure. Weariness. Performance. Five days a week, most of us walk into an atmosphere that encompasses all these dynamics and a host of others as well. We appear calm and confident. We may even feel calm and confident— for a little while. There is an electricity in the air. We are moving around in the pursuit of accomplishing that day’s prescribed achievements. We have a purpose. We have a goal. There is a likeness of spirit with those around us. We are a part of a much bigger picture that will change or improve our society. It is exciting.
Or is it? The electricity in the air may be a result of tension. Our movement may be a drive to achieve an unattainable goal. The likeness of spirit maybe undermined by conflict. We may not see any changes at all in society as a result of our efforts. What was once exciting may soon become stressful.
If we felt tremendous stress in our homes, we would probably be actively seeking relief. In the office place, however, we focus on the problems directly related to the business. If there is stress, how does that affect our work performance? The focus is usually not on the relationships of the personalities involved. It may not even be practical to give a lot of time to personalities.
Awareness of the unique atmosphere of the office can help to prevent inappropriate relationships. What we take so much for granted is really an arena of potential conflict. The mixed bag of excitement and stress can easily make the office a fertile field for vulnerability.
Just to be aware of that fact—that where you spend at least one third of your time is a place of potential vulnerability—can help you to be prepared for attacks in your areas of weakness. The atmosphere of the working world will not change. There will always be a combination of excitement and pressure. It is dangerous to think of the work place as just another place where we spend some time. It is a major part of our lives and has some inherent qualities that do not exist elsewhere.
Besides, immorality is exciting. That doesn’t sound like a “Christian” statement, but it is. Sin is fun. That is part of Satan’s way of entangling believers in his trap. The exciting atmosphere in the office can fan the spark between two people into a flame. In the secular office place, immorality is not the issue; getting the work of the company done is what matters. Usually, professional behavior is expected, but what is happening behind the scenes (or closed doors) is often of little concern.
The cumulative effects of office pressure are also conducive to immoral relationships. People in a similar situation under similar pressures are drawn together for reinforcement. If unprepared, an adulterous relationship can develop rapidly as a result of pressure.
The trappings of the professional world are many: cocktail parties, business lunches, late night meetings, weekend conferences, powerful people doing powerful things—and “doing your own thing” is part of the package. It is unlikely that we can move out of that atmosphere totally, but we can learn to be aware of its pitfalls and stand against them.
Competition in the workplace
There is an atmosphere of inner-office competition. There may be some competitiveness that exists in the home, but hopefully not to the degree that it does in the work place.
Because of this competition, we are “on” when in the office. Or at least we appear to be on. Since work is a livelihood and the loss of work is a threat, we compete seriously. Competition creates comparison. Comparison may result in fear of being less competent than someone else. Feelings of inadequacy put us again in an arena of vulnerability.
When we feel inadequate, we may seek a feeling of significance in the wrong place. We can always find someone we work with who is sympathetic. But a relationship based on need for comfort and sympathy can be a dangerous one.
It is important to compare ourselves with biblical standards and not with other people. Nice statement. Awfully tough one to live out in an office. We need to understand what is expected of us from our superiors—and what the Lord expects. Then we need to operate with integrity and diligence and not with an attitude of constantly looking around at what others are doing. Because most businesses do not operate by biblical standards, this criterion may be hard to determine. In fact, many businesses operate against biblical principles. Thus, when we feel threatened because of feelings of inadequacy, we need to be on guard as to where we turn for comfort.
Unlimited time, limited relationships in the workplace
We often hear a woman say that her husband’s secretary spends more time with him than she does. That is probably true. People in work relationships spend a great deal of time together. Often, we are required to work longer than eight hour days. Even if we only work a traditional eight hours, that is still a lot of time spent together.
We are also encouraged in this age of communication to be “open” with other people. Openness in a healthy way is certainly a positive element in any relationship. Unlimited openness, however, is not healthy.
The combination of long hours spent together and the encouragement of openness can be risky if we are not prepared for that risk. Extensive time and open communication together encourage closeness. All that sounds good. Certainly, the Lord wants us to be close to others. The problem is the way in which we are close.
Listen to the ingredients: a man and a woman, a lot of time spent together, open communication, closeness. What is the obvious potential?
Does this mean that we cannot spend time in open communication with someone we work with? It depends. It depends on how we feel, how the other person feels, and how we interact together. If there is a “chemistry,” then great limits have to be placed on all three elements. If there is legitimate friendship (nothing at all immoral in desires or actions), then there can be time, communication, and closeness. Limited. Limited time, limited communication, and limited closeness. We simply cannot have unlimited relationships with members of the opposite sex and expect to have controlled relationships.
But what kind of limits? In work relationships, time should be structured around the need to accomplish the work. To fill a lot of time with long meals and idle conversation can be a danger sign. Conversation should not be provocative. Provocative is anything that stirs up the other person—or yourself. It is inappropriate to listen to complaints about someone’s wife or husband. It is also inappropriate to discuss dating frustrations if you are single in other than very general terms. We even need to exercise discretion when discussing something as seemingly harmless as a movie we have seen or a book we have read.
This may sound narrow. But the effects of provocative conversation are teasers. They plant a seed of “teasing with sin” in the minds of the parties involved.
If you are spending a lot of time with someone, you need to honestly evaluate your thinking about that person. You need to look at him with regard to your marriage as well. Do you think more often of him than of your spouse? Do you value his opinion more than that of your spouse, even if neither he nor your spouse knows that? If you have an opportunity to either be with that person or be at home, do you lean toward being with that person? Any of these areas are danger signs.
If you do have a relationship that is heading toward “risky,” the time spent with that person may have to change. Work may not appear to permit that change. But personal integrity and family relationships are more important than any job. Look seriously at a way to change the time spent with that other person.
Common interests in the workplace
It is very exciting and rewarding to be with someone who has the same interests you have. When a job is not a job but a passion, being involved in it makes the heart beat fast and the imagination leap at the possibilities of success.
This may be especially true in Christian work. Unusual levels of commitment and dedication are often required of the worker in a Christian ministry. The rewards are not monetary, but appeal to your sense of duty and service. Because of this “higher calling” dimension, there is great emotion tied into the work.
In the secular marketplace, the common interest may be based on different values—money, achievement—but the result is the same. Common interests encourage close relationships.
Again, this is not wrong in and of itself. What is wrong is to be unaware of the potential danger in a relationship with the emotional dimension of “playing on the same team.” Some of the most rewarding and healthy relationships exist in the framework of shared goals. But these relationships cannot be healthy if immorality is present.
To help prevent immorality, you must be aware that shared interests can be conducive to closeness. Strive to keep the closeness right before the Lord and not unhealthy.
Manipulation in the workplace
As a believer, you may have to suffer persecution in the work place because of your unwillingness to succumb to sexual manipulation. In this day of women’s rights, we don’t hear too much of office manipulation by the means of sexual pressure. But it still exists. It may not be as blatant as the style depicted in movies: the young starlet back in the 1940s allowing herself to be seduced by the powerful producer in order to land a leading role in a movie. But the game still goes on.
Saying no to unwanted advances may result in some stress at work. The Bible refers to this as being persecuted for righteousness’ sake. In 1 Peter 2:20 we read, “How is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”
If someone in authority over you makes an advance and you turn him down, he may resort to manipulation. He may make your life miserable. This is not always a situation with a man in authority above a woman. Women may be the ones making the advances, too.
If a job situation becomes unfair due to taking a moral stand, hang in there with your integrity, or look for another job. It is often not that cut and dried, but the bottom line is that your integrity is more important than the job.
How does the homemaker respond?
What does all this mean to the woman who is at home all day? Be aware. Realize that your husband enters a world every day that has its own set of temptations and challenges. He is bombarded with philosophies of the world. He is surrounded by women who are dressed to the teeth, aggressive, and looking at him in a different way than you are. Not all women in the working world are this way. But be aware that the world he enters from nine to five has that element as one of its components.
Also, be concerned about your appearance, your attitude, your interests in his work, your knowledge of what is going on in the world. You are in competition. He may be the most faithful man in the world, but he is assaulted. Help him by helping yourself be all that he needs in a wife—not perfect, but trying to meet his needs and helping protect him from temptations.
How Does the man married to a working woman Respond, where both work?
In many Christian families today, the woman works. The husband and wife both leave in the morning and go to the office arena. They both become frazzled from the same frustrations of work, temptation, family.
The man who is married to a working woman needs to realize that she is facing the same challenges that he is in his office. The old perspective that men are the only ones facing sexual temptations is gone. A woman in the work force is constantly around men who are “on the prowl.” She relates daily to the aggressive, suave “mover.” She, too, needs the emotional protection that her husband can help provide. She needs the same concern and care that the man returning home from work needs.
Who or What could help families stand and not fall?
Whether you are married or single, male or female, working or at home, the ultimate source of security and significance is in the Lord. We have a responsibility as believers to relate to others in ways that minister to them. But the final, core source of fulfillment is in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Other people can help in the battle against immorality. They, however, will be rendered powerless in the face of heated battle unless you have a firm relationship with the Lord at the center of your life.
Questions for reflection and application:
- Have you learned something new today in this study? What is it?
- What would you apply and when?
- Who would you share this information with as a mark of fellowship and equipping of the Saints of Jesus Christ to aid in their pilgrimage work here on earth?
Thank you, Lord God, for today’s message/study, help us to nail down what we have learnt and the wisdom to apply as you provide the needed grace for the willing heart. Help us to think outside ourselves, to think well of others and to share what we have learned to those who need it so dearly, in Jesus name, amen
Monday Ogwuojo Ogbe
E – Discipleship @ Otakada.org