Have you ever been tempted by an office romance? My Pastor took a poll at our church. The number one workplace temptation of the medium-sized congregation (800 on Sunday morning) is sexual impropriety or romance.
People look their best, smell their best and act on their best behavior at work. For the most part, we seldom, if ever, see our co-workers in old, dirty clothes or badly-kept hair. Co-workers don't tell you to take out the garbage or ask "what's for supper" after you've worked a long shift.
Work friends get to know us. They may admire some of our qualities. They might appreciate our sense of humor, even better than a spouse. They might be a shoulder to cry on when things aren't going well at home or in another part of our life. If a co-worker becomes attracted to us, they might know our points of vulnerability and capitalize on them to draw closer.
There are a lot of potential outcomes for office romances. Few of them are positive. If either person is married, the romance could end with adultery, divorce, a broken family and/or a loss of reputation. If the object of affection is a junior co-worker, it could cost the manager a promotion, a sexual harassment complaint or even a career. If the object of affection is senior in the organization, it could cause uncertainty about personnel decisions. Did I get transferred because my boss wanted me out of her life? Did he give me the promotion just because he's attracted to me? Worse yet, an illicit affair could cost the Christian his witness among people he or she may have spent years trying to win to Christ.
You may wonder, is there anything wrong with romance at work, if both people are single. The answer is . . . it depends. If both people are believers in Jesus and legitimately looking for a life partner, work can be an okay place to find the love of your life. However, most relationships don't work out. Do you want to date a co-worker, have the relationship fail and then see the person every day at work for the rest of your life? (Mild exaggeration.) Or worse yet, do you want to job hunt because your relationship becomes the talk of the office? How would you feel about developing problems with co-workers or supervisors who misunderstand your relationship? This is a tricky area and much prayer and consideration should be given before jumping into a relationship with a co-worker, even if you both are single and dating according to Biblical standards.
Advice from the Bible
The Bible reminds us that all sin begins in the heart. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22). Each of us who call Christ Lord must keep our hearts focused on God. We do this through nurturing our relationship with God and letting him wash us with His Word, the Bible. Talking things over with Jesus and yielding to the Spirit's gentle suggestions can keep us out of trouble at work.
Keeping our Focus
Our primary purpose at work is to take care of God's world through our jobs. Truly loving our bosses, co-workers and customers requires a purity of heart that shouldn't get mixed up with sexual temptation. Getting waylaid by an office romance is likely to distract us from our main purpose at work. If you are in the phase of looking for a lifetime husband or wife, let God help you find one. Commit the issue to Him and trust Him for the result. One friend of mine put a picture of her ideal (for her age) husband on her refrigerator. Within a year, she married a very rich dude who shared her faith and her commitment to ministry. I'm not sure about her methodology, but I know God answers prayers when we trust Him with the result. Whatever the perfect mate for you, God knows and is much more likely to pick the perfect one than we would by ourselves.
Happy Valentine's Day
Dear Readers, you are special to me. Most people who receive my blog either by email, Facebook or Twitter, don't find time to read it. I so appreciate you who do and trust that God is blessing you today. My hope and prayer for you is that your heart overflows, not just with romantic love, but God's agape love at this time of year and throughout your life.