How to avoid being used by others while maintaining love?

Jesus said He came to serve and not be served. As a follower of Christ, I am confused sometimes. Should I help my colleague? It’s her job but she passed it on to me. If I do, she’ll keep asking me to do. If I don’t, will it mean I lost a testimony? 

John 15:13

ESV - 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 16 2018 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Jesus advised His followers to not only be as innocent as doves, but also as wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). Neighborly love does not require Christians to allow others to repeatedly and knowingly take advantage of them. (Also, such ongoing enabling is not in the genuine best interests of the other person, either.) Christians are to learn from such experiences, and use them to acquire discretion. (As the old (non-Biblical) saying goes, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.")

That does not necessarily mean that you have to be hostile to the other person (although you may have to be repeatedly firm). Is there anything you can show or teach the other person that is related to the reason why they are always turning to you (such as a skill that you possess that the other person does not)? Do you know of other resources (including training) that might be available to the person to assist them, and of which the person is unaware? Such courses of action might ease your concerns about possibly behaving in a way that would be inconsistent with your Christian testimony. You could also cite the volume of your own workload (especially in relation to your available time) as a valid constraining factor that would allow you to decline their requests without feeling that you were being unfair to them.

June 18 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
Jesus came to serve others. His service delivered God's love to them. Jesus also came to deliver his message about the kingdom of God. He told them what the kingdom was like and showed them what a difference it could make in their lives.

Tim's answer gives us the wisdom of this world. How to exercise our rights and protect ourselves from people using us or taking advantage of us. But this is not the wisdom of God and this is not the Jesus way. 

Matthew 10:16 was used to support this worldly wisdom but is taken out of context. In Matthew 10 Jesus is preparing to send out his disciples to bring the kingdom of God to the world. He tells them to be on their guard, to be as shrewd as serpents, because some people will try to trick them, trap them, or derail them from their mission. They would be handed over to local councils, flogged and brought before governors and kings. They were not to worry because the Holy Spirit would tell them what to say.

Jesus was taken advantage of every day of his ministry life. He healed ten lepers but only two thanked him. Jesus said people followed him because of the sensational miracles he was performing, not because of the life giving message he had for them. Jesus did not exercise his rights. He left his rights in heaven and became as servant.

Jesus said if we wanted to be his followers we needed to "deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow him" (Mark 8:34). Our mission is to bring the kingdom of God to our workplaces. What does it mean to "deny ourselves" at work? What does it mean to take up our crosses in the workplace? Jesus was taken advantage of every day. We will be too. Jesus suffered and he said we would suffer for his sake too. In Matthew 18:20-21 Peter asks how many times we have to forgive others, and suggests up to seven times. Jesus responds with, not seven times but seventy-seven times. We keep forgiving and serving. We suffer and persevere so that God's kingdom may come to our workplaces too.

What does it mean to follow Jesus example in our workplaces? Jesus sacrificially served others in order to deliver God's love to them. Jesus also told them about the kingdom of God and invited them to become part of it. That is our mission too. We serve others to deliver God's love to them. We tell them about the kingdom of God - how we came to faith in Jesus and what a difference he has made in our lives.

But it is important to remember the example of Matthew 10:14 about people rejecting our mission, "if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet". If anyone rejects our love and is not willing to listen to our message, then we move on to someone else in our workplaces.

So, what does following Jesus look like in the example you have given. Here are some thoughts to consider:

1) continue to help your co-worker to get their work done, but tell them that you are helping them to show them how much God loves them, and your service is one of the ways God is asking you to deliver that love.

2) invite your co-worker to pray with you, asking God for his wisdom to help your co-worker find more efficient ways to complete the work on time without your assistance.

3) you can also pray together asking God to help you see any bottlenecks in the work flow routines of your office. Maybe your co-worker has too much work on their plate for one person to complete and some work flow responsibilities need to be reassigned to others.

May God bless your desire to faithfully follow Jesus at work and give you the words to say that will bring his kingdom to your workplace.

August 27 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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