By: Joel Osteen
I have a friend that worked for this well-known minister when he was a young man. One night they were in another city holding a conference. After the service, the two main staff members for this well-known minister invited this young man to come to their hotel room and watch the ballgame and have some snacks. So this young man went over there. They were having a good time just hanging out. But all of the sudden, these two staff members began to talk about their boss. They were so negative and so critical and judgmental toward him. This young man was shocked. Here he was just new on staff. These other two men had been with this minister for over 20 years. When he heard how bad they were talking, something just stirred on the inside that said, “This is not right. You need to go. You need to leave.” So he very politely excused himself. He never said anything else about it. But a couple of weeks later, that well-known minister called these two staff members in and said, “I was praying this morning, and I just feel like you’re no longer on board with me, so I’m going to ask you to leave.” They were both dismissed.
Today, this young man is a very well-known minister. He goes all over the world. But he also said, “I know if I had not left that night, if I would have allowed them to poison me and become critical and judgmental, I would not be where I am today.” Those other two men were just as gifted. They had all kinds of potential. But for years and years, all they’ve done is flounder around. They’ve never walked in the fullness of what God has in store. It’s because they have this critical spirit.
If somebody at work is trying to tell you something bad about somebody else, don’t sit there and be passive. You might say, “Joel, I couldn’t help it. They wanted to tell me.” Sure, you can. Just say, “You know what? I just remembered I’ve got an important appointment. I’ve got to go to. I’m going to have to excuse myself.” If you can’t leave, you can say, “Well, you know? Instead of talking about this person, why don’t we pray for them?” Stay on the offensive.
Don’t let people poison you. If your friends and co-workers are critical, faultfinders, gossips, backbiters, you need to find some new friends. Those spirits can rub off on you. You shouldn’t go to lunch every day with people from work that sit around and badmouth the company, criticize the boss, gossip and complain. I know you might think that if you don’t go to lunch with them that you may be lonely, but I’d rather be lonely than poisoned. I would rather be lonely than allow people that are not going anywhere in life to keep me from my God-given destiny. You might think, “Well, Joel, if I don’t go with them, they may start talking about me.” No, let me tell you a secret. Most likely, they’re already talking about you! If they’ll talk about others in front of you, then when you’re not there, they’ll talk about you.
If people are stirring up things around you, talking about the leadership, talking about your family, talking about your friends, don’t sit there and be a part of it. That can keep you from your God-given destiny.
God will not promote a critical spirit, a gossip, a faultfinder, someone that is sowing discord. And if you have a problem with someone, go to them face to face, not behind their back. You may not agree with everything. There may be things you don’t understand. But don’t be a gossip. Don’t go around stirring up trouble. If you’re not behind the company that you work for, you need to go find another job. But as long as you are taking their paycheck, you should not be critical and condemning. You should support those people and that organization.
Decide to honor God in your conversations and even your thoughts in the workplace. If you want God to promote you, make sure you keep a pure heart and stay away from gossip. God longs to continually bless us and take us higher and higher in all aspects of life, even in our careers; but we have to make sure we’re doing our part by keeping our heart pure and our mouth free of gossip and strife.