Job 6:24—Teach me, and I will be silent. Help me understand what I did wrong.
As the manager of a midsize division, Lu was responsible for millions of dollars of merchandise and about a hundred employees. The CEO was impressed by her tenacity and creative mind in fixing problems. The board saw her as a rising star so almost everyone was shocked when she resigned. She gave her new boss Calvin virtually no advance notice of her intentions and left at a time of major restructuring. Lu had accepted the offer of a smaller division within the same company but located in another state. She felt the job, though less prestigious, was a better fit for her skill set and it was much closer to her family.
Lu received a good evaluation from Calvin but she knew that his assessment could have been better. She remembered the Greek Proverb engraved on the plaque on his wall,“I would rather have men ask why I have no statue than why I have one.” Respecting his distrust of selfish employees she carefully crafted an email thanking him for his evaluation and asked if she could speak with him. Calvin learned from some of his staff that Lu pressed her previous boss for higher ratings. He expected she would make a case for a better evaluation. So he was quite surprised when she called and did nothing of the sort.
“Calvin, I respect you and want you to know how much I have appreciated your leadership over the past four months. I feel like I let you down. I have loved every job I’ve held with this company and I want to keep on serving but only if you and the leadership believe I have something valuable to offer. Would you be willing to take the time to mentor me and help me understand what I did wrong and how I could improve as a leader?”
Chip Heath & Dan Heath in their book Switch wrote that “Clarity dissolves resistance.” By clearly stating her thoughts and by not asking Calvin to change his evaluation of her, Lu changed his opinion of her. By humbling herself and asking for his advice she enabled him to freely address her with his concerns. Furthermore, by quietly listening to him and thanking him for his honesty she gained valuable coaching. Calvin made the effort to invest in her growth even though she quit his team.
Lu understood that she made mistakes in the way she left her job. But what about those times when we cannot think of anything we did wrong and yet we suffer and are criticized? This was the situation Job faced as his friends tried to point out that his suffering was caused by his own sin. Job listened as Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar took turns challenging his words and character. He pointed out the flaws in their arguments and defended himself. Yet as we learn from the passage above he sought to know from his three friends, what he had done wrong. Ultimately it would take God speaking to bring him to a place of understanding. After listening to God, Job said, “I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes” (42:6). God then restored his health and his prosperity.
Those who operate in pride, use excuses to cover their weak behavior, and laud their achievements, invite resentment. Those who humble themselves, seek improvement, and listen, win the hearts of those around them.
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)