Lion’s Den Survival Principles is a series designed to help Christians thrive in the often hostile world of media and entertainment. The principles from Scripture, however, can apply to every situation where you find yourself in the midst of lions!
|Dr. Larry Poland|
Dealing with the Power Structure
“Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, ‘I am afraid of my Lord the King . . . .’”
— Daniel 1:8-10 (NIV)
Bosses. Everybody has as least one. Every boss has at least one character weakness. Every employee has at least one character weakness. All people have innate tendencies toward rebellion against other people’s authority and misuse of their own. Mix these ingredients, and you have the stuff of which power struggles, bitter conflict, and lawsuits are made. The world of media has its share of unreasonable, egomaniacal, unethical, and exploitive bosses. The narcissistic producer and screaming director are legendary Hollywood stereotypes. A feature film built around one such producer was titled, The S. O. B.
Daniel worked for some of the worst bosses in human history. Tyrannical King Nebuchadnezzar, Saddam Hussein’s cultural ancestor, dragged him to Babylon in the first place in a ruthless ploy. Daniel was pulled out of retirement and worked just one night for Belshazzar, a despot so arrogant and evil he took confiscated sacred vessels from the temple of Jehovah and used them for party dishes. Later, Daniel worked for Darius the Mede who was such an egomaniac that he signed a decree that anyone not praying exclusively to him should be fed to lions. And you thought your boss was bad!
Survival Principle: Bosses are to be respected but not feared, because they have no ultimate authority.
Daniel’s immediate supervisor was terrorized by his boss, King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was afraid of neither. Daniel knew that no human boss makes ultimate decisions. Proverb 21:1 declares, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like water in an irrigation ditch.” When a person is resting in the care of his Heavenly Father, God defies hell itself to mess with His plans for His child! Certainly no mere boss can.
Survival Principle: In matters of conscience, we must prayerfully prepare an open appeal to the authority, one that supports his objectives.
In the conscience matter of food forbidden by His God, Daniel rejected misguided—but commonly used—approaches like the following:
- He didn’t rebel against the authority and refuse to submit (“You can’t make me eat this non-Kosher garbage!”).
- He didn’t undermine the authority by pretending to eat it when the boss was looking and sneak in his own food when he wasn’t.
- He didn’t speak evil of his “godless” and “pagan” supervisor and thereby spread rebellion and slander his name.
Having “resolved not to defile himself,” he dealt with the matter openly, trusting God to give him favor.
Survival Principle: When faced with directives that violate your conscience, provide a creative solution that will enhance your boss’s image and success . . . and protect your own integrity.
Having been in management all of my life, I’ve come to resist workers who dump problems on my desk, but make no efforts on their own to propose creative solutions for them. Equally offensive are workers who seek solutions that make everybody else’s job more difficult but their own. As you recall, Daniel proposed a ten-day “food experiment” and was willing to take the consequences if the plan failed. Because God favored the plan, Daniel got the decision he wanted, and the boss ended up looking even better in the “royal review of servants!”
Note: None of these principles is conditioned on your boss’s being a nice, reasonable, or righteous person. In fact, your character is more greatly enhanced in dealing righteously with an impossible boss than in dealing with a saintly one. And the dramatic enhancement of the character of Christ in you is the name of God’s game!
Like to have the entire collection of Dr. Poland’s words of wisdom from the book of Daniel? Then purchase “Lion’s Den Survival Principles” (the book) with 25 chapters and 58 survival principles. Order for $11.00 including shipping and handling from 330 Sixth Street, Redlands, CA 92374, or call 800-552-1248 to order.