Sometimes the Lord gives us opportunity to see our failings. A flaw noted should be corrected while a flaw ignored may grow into a character fissure. I was blessed to spend seven days learning about strategic leadership at the University of North Carolina. The Army paid for about thirty of us to stay in great accommodations, eat fantastic food, and learn from wise professors and senior military leaders.
One afternoon we divided into teams to work on an exercise meant to teach us about conducting negotiations. Each of us had a specific role. There were five men and one woman in our group. Knowing that we would each have to compromise our position somewhat for the scenario to work, I came into the room and took charge. I shared that if we were honest up front and worked together without a hidden agenda, we could solve the problem we faced. The men agreed and so I stood at the marker board and begin writing each point of negotiation we would have to vote.
Janet* seemed irritated. She said if she did not agree she could veto the whole process. While that was true, it made no sense to us because she represented the company making the proposal we were debating! The more we pushed to vote, the more she resisted and became abrasive. Finally, in frustration, all the men walked out. I went back to her and asked what was wrong. She shared that she thought we were trying to “game” the exercise and were not serious about working through it diligently. I assured her that was not the case and felt like I was able to gain her support. It was not long before we solved the problem with unanimous consent. I was quite pleased with my work.
Later, each of the teams gathered to debrief and share what we learned. When it was our team’s turn, the professor in charge, asked me why I took the lead in the negotiations. I explained my reasoning and then she asked Janet how she felt about this. Janet shared that my actions disrupted her plan and frustrated her. It was clear that I spoiled the exercise for her. As I listened, my spirit sank. Yes, I completely overlooked Janet’s role. I was so certain I had the solution that I spent no time considering that I really had no business leading. The next morning I sought her out and apologized for being a jerk. She was kind and dismissed the whole episode as a simple negotiation misunderstanding.
Job 16:3,4--Is there no end to your empty words? What provokes you that you continue testifying? If you were in my place I could also talk like you. I could string words together against you and shake my head at you, but I wouldn't.
33:3—My words come from my upright heart, and my lips speak what they know with sincerity.
Have you ever punctured a balloon and then tried to blow it up? It doesn’t work for long does it! Likewise, an insensitive remark or tactless action can ruin the mental and emotional state of another person. Being right does not justify insensitivity. Conversely, being sensitive does not mean saying or doing only what someone wants. Jesus always treated people correctly—whether they liked it or not. Jesus was never thoughtless. Clear reflection helps us see that insensitive remarks or actions come from faulty thinking or a self-absorbed mind. Lord, help me to treat people the way You would treat them.
However sincere we may have been at certain times, all of us have stepped outside the will of God in well-meaning attempts to solve our own problems.—Jack Hayford inWorship His Majesty
*Not her real name
©2010 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)