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I suspect an office scandal. Do I tell the boss?

I suspect an office scandal. Do I tell the boss?

Q. I recently heard from one of my co-workers that two of the people working in my office are having an affair – and both of them are married! I haven’t actually seen them together, but I’m really shocked by their behavior, and I feel as if management should know about it. Should I tell my boss?

A. Joining in on office gossip, reading tabloid magazines, or listening to the latest scandal on the evening news is something we all do at times. Jesus strongly cautioned us about just such activities. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not condoning an affair. I am asking, “Why do the faults of others so readily grab our attention?”  It may be that the misfortunes or mistakes of others make us feel better about our own life; we say to ourselves, “Thank goodness, that’s not me.”

Recall the passage in the Bible when the woman is caught in adultery and the crowd cries out for her stoning. Jesus responds to the crowd by challenging anyone who is without sin to cast the first stone. Jesus did not condone the woman’s sin of adultery, but he went to her with compassion and forgiveness and told her to “go and sin no more.” (cf. John 8:1-11) His point was so clearly made that there is no room for ambiguity: not one of us is perfect, we have all fallen short.

Therefore, my answer to your question is that you not be the one in the crowd who throws the first stone. The fact that you have heard what is going on between your co-workers makes it a pretty good bet that others have too, including management.

If you have an existing friendship with either co-worker, such that he or she may open up to you about the affair, then follow Jesus’ example. Be compassionate and encourage this person to end the relationship. If this person chooses not to open up to you or to not end the affair, then stay out of it. Pray for God’s grace and look for a way to demonstrate your genuine concern — not just confront what they likely already know they are doing wrong.

Now here’s the flip side of your question. At work this week, catch someone in the act of doing something right. Then make a point of telling that person you’ve noticed — or better yet, let management know. That’s the kind of “stone” we all need to throw more frequently.