Karis Kolawole has been infuriated by reports of people being told not to wear a cross around the office, but there is a far stronger symbol of our Christian faith and no employer can mess with it.
Wearing a cross is an important symbol of faith for many Christians across the world. It reminds them of God’s presence and for some, it’s a prayer aide. Sadly, it has also become a magnet for persecution in some workplaces. Over the years, I’ve followed stories of people who have been unfairly stopped from wearing a cross at work. Specifically, a cross - not a flashy little crocodile or skull and bones pendant. A cross!
My reaction has moved along a trajectory that began with anger and landed on a calm, defiant spot. I believe we have a much stronger symbol of our faith in Christ: LOVE (John 13:35).
Persecuted Christians in countries that don’t tolerate Christianity have much more than a metal cross taken away. Their persecutors deprive them of their Bibles but can’t take away God’s living word in their hearts. Sometimes their hushed voices are all they have for vibrant worship instead of soul-stirring musical instruments. Nevertheless, no one can take away the treasure God has placed in them (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).
Persecuted Christians in countries that don’t tolerate Christianity have much more than a metal cross taken away.
Pleasing God in all I do is important to me, and my faith sits firmly behind the way I do my job (1 Corinthians 10:31). Accountability, integrity, excellence and many other virtues thrive on the fuel of my belief in Christ. My colleagues tend to speak of my very open expression of faith. They don’t see that I can get angry and sometimes I can fall short. They also don’t know that I don’t like every single colleague (sorry, but it’s true). All they see is God’s love, the most important symbol of my Christian faith.
Love equips us to offer so much more than our professional skills and knowledge. It empowers us to bring wisdom, peace and empathy into even the toughest workplaces. As the chair of a Christian staff network, I’ve had the privilege of being there for colleagues of every faith and none, going through sudden or long-term illnesses, family and marriage issues, bereavement, bullying, harassment, etc.
Love equips us to offer so much more than our professional skills and knowledge.
When I faced bullying and discrimination at work years ago, my faith in God helped me survive it and move on. Forgiveness was tough but it was the right thing to do. Right?! Things happening around me can’t mess with my love. I’m on a mission and too busy to let these distractions hold me back.
If I was in the shoes of people who had their crosses taken away, would I challenge my employer? Yes! I would with articulate, assertive words and with an inner calm that I have a stronger symbol of my faith than a metal cross that they can never, ever touch – and that is LOVE.