What are your values? Not your stated values but those you truly live by? It is important to know the difference because it will determine your effectiveness as a leader and impact the culture you are creating in your organisation.
This week we have seen a major upheaval within the political landscape of the United Kingdom and the values of our political leaders have been seriously tested. A number have resigned. All politicians state that they are representatives of their people and will uphold democratic process. However, it appears that some may have forgotten this. It is easy to knock public figures, what about our organisations?
So often, we have values that we state, mention and uphold publicly. Yet, they are aspirations rather than heartfelt passions, so that when troubles come…..they can be forgotten. Our values have become a management tool rather than a code we live by. People notice, recognise it and respond in kind. If you don’t truly live by your values, there will come a point when it is tested and you will pay a heavy price.
“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.” Titus 3:10-11
Ok, so this verse does not sting me in quite the same as the previous verses in this little series, rather, it troubles me. How can I have nothing to do with somebody? What happened to the forgiving 70 times 7 in Matthew 18:22? If I was to follow this through, how can the love of God be found in me? When I have tried to act upon this verse it is not long before there is a need to act ‘in love’ and with forgiveness…..am I then being untrue to the Word of God?
This verse really troubles me, I want to understand it, in fact I have tried to get beneath each individual word and see if there is something obvious that is missing but it continually comes around to seeming contradictions. AGGGGHHHHH! The context does not help dramatically but what it does share with me, is the truth that there are times when you have to ‘stop playing ball’ with some people. That truth does sting me….sure, there are some folk who I would rather avoid forever, but this does not sit with Matthew 6:14ff for me. I guess the real issues to address are;
1) What is love? Yes, you can love and hate at the same time….our issue is our interpretation of love.
2) What is forgiveness?
3) What does it mean to be ‘divisive’?
4) Can even a divisive person know God’s mercy? Should we, therefore, reciprocate?
It is not my favourite couple of verses but they are some verses that I will keep mulling over and I will trust the Holy Spirit to illuminate my own thinking in that time.
Do you ever get a day where all sorts of things are happening around you but none of it makes sense? It can be quite off putting, especially when you have a personal clarity and everything else that others throw in seems to be ‘skewed’ to you but so clever to them.
Life can be like that, there is unlikely to be a seismic shift that changes the landscape, you just have to knuckle down and accept it, hard though that seems, or get out and do something different.
It may appear wise to think outside the box but the box still exists, where possible you have to enlarge the box so that the bigger world you dream of is attained or remain content and do nothing. That is organisations and the life they espouse. Don’t waste time fighting, if necessary spend time changing, even when the journey seems long and hard, even when you feel that you do not fit, even when you feel alone. In time, it will be worth it, stick with it, be patient and, in the meantime, fight for what is right and what is just. Seriously, it will be worth it.
As a Christian, I seek to listen to and understand what the Bible is teaching and make attempts, though not always successful, at putting its truth into practice. There are some verses that trouble me because they challenge me. Two such verses are;
“if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18)
Those verses hit me right between the eyes! Imagine that, sharing my possessions with people in need. Using the things I possess to help and support others. How willing am I to do this type of thing? It is not something that is easy, in fact it is probably something that I should be more willing to do, but my selfish nature does not allow it.
There have been some occasions in my life where I have been good, on one occasion insuring my car for a time so that a neighbour had transport when her car was unusable. It was right to do but the surprise for me was that it was members of the church who had the greatest objection. They were horrified that, as the Youth Minister, I would be so free with my possessions and not more protective. We obviously had not shared enough from 1John in our church!
What about our money? What about our homes? Our computers? Our mobile phones? Our treasures are in heaven, not on earth, where moth, rust and decay settle in, yet we can be so hesitant. God’s gifts are given to be used in His service, not for us to hoard and control for our own ends only. A truth that is far easier to hold in theory than in practice. I have all the excuses, all the reasons why I should keep hold of things for myself but justifying them is more difficult.
I long to live out these things in a better way, thankfully it is a journey and Gods grace is sufficient to help me through my failings, meanwhile, these verses continue to challenge me to the core.
Yesterday, we looked at my objections to the language of the phrase, “people are your best asset“, whereas today I would like to look at the truth behind the words. The phrase contains half truth, not whole truth, this has to be addressed in the context where it is used.
A few years back, I was involved with teams who were competing in the Welsh 3000 in 24hrs challenge. It was my first year of involvement and so I agreed to join a support team for some groups who were doing the event as preparation for my own challenge a year later. It was one of the most wise decisions that I have ever made as I learned a great deal. At each of the pit stops you received a clear indication of which teams were doing well and which were imploding – not all people were an asset on their team. Having the right people on a team was vital – a year later, after choosing the right team and a valuable lesson learned, we finished the event in 17 hours.
I believe that every person has value, every person has a beauty that others do not but there are occasions were you must choose the right people for the right time – choose wisely.
If, as leaders, we ever use the excuse that ‘we are too busy’ or apologise and then add a refrain that qualifies the apology because of ‘busy’ issues then we need to be aware of what that says to those that we lead.
‘I found other things more important’, ‘I have different priorities’, ‘your issues are not valuable enough to me’…… these things may be true and if they are, we need to admit them and be straight with people, rather than issuing a curse by saying that we were just ‘too busy’.
A statement like this can be seen in many different ways. When typed in isolation and read as a matter of fact there is little doubt as to the suitability of the day yet, with intonation or a hint of sarcasm in its tone, the words would be understood most different. You could also delve deeper and ask what the interpretation of the word “good” signifies to the writer, or what the length of a “day” really means.
Sometimes we need to be more matter of fact, accept the words given and move on. Dissecting every last detail wastes time, is often unnecessary and regularly misses the original point. Have a good day!