At the end of 1 Corinthians 13, Paul identifies 3 things which should be a part of our lives: faith, hope, and love. These attitudes/actions/characteristics form the core of a fulfilled life, and even more importantly, a life that is pleasing to God. Paul concludes the chapter by saying, “but the greatest of these is love.” In context it is easy to understand that what he means, is that we should show love in all our interactions, not just toward the people we like or the ones we know. EVERYBODY!
Grace is unmerited favor or kindness, for instance, when you do something nice for someone for no reason at all you are being gracious. Mercy is unwarranted forgiveness, or at the very least, unwarranted forbearance. Accountability is the process whereby an individual is held responsible, to an expectation. Let’s face it, finding the right balance in showing grace and mercy, while holding people accountable can be challenging.
Bob Dylan, a singer and musician, in one of his songs says” you’re gonna serve somebody, it maybe the Lord, it maybe the Devil, but you’re gonna serve somebody”. He is right on target: you are serving somebody whether you know it or not. This is an unavoidable fact of life. Joshua from the Old Testament said to the nation of Israel after they entered the promised land:
Gossip is the weapon of an assassin targeting relationships. Gossip is the elevation of ME ahead of WE. Gossip is the destroyer of that which God values most: relationships. Those who gossip deal in a narcotic that, in the short term, make themselves feel better, but in the long term destroys their own peace and joy.
Most people would say they know, and do, the “right” thing. However, to say you can be trusted to do the “right” thing is meaningless without a standard. After all, what does “right” mean? All you are really saying is that you will do what feels appropriate to you at that moment based on your perception of “right.”
Here is a shock: everything ISN’T all about YOU. I know that this may come as a surprise. You may feel as if you are the center of the universe, but it simply is not true. Every indication is that the context of LIFE has everything to do with RELATIONCHIPS, and relationships, by definition, includes others.
The pendulum swing for all our actions ranges from no effort to a perfectionistic ideal which is impossible to achieve. The medium point of the pendulum swing is “good enough.” Jim Collins wrote in his book “Good to Great” that “good is the enemy of great.” His point is that when we achieve good, most think that is “good enough.” I want to suggest there is a place beyond good that I’ve called Excellent.
Attitudes are contagious, especially yours as the leader. Negativity will sink the morale of everyone around you. It can creep up on you so subtly that you may not even realize it has become a prominent part of your perspective. Stop and check yourself daily, asking “am I displaying a negative attitude, a critical spirit, or constantly griping or whining about situations?”
Imagine your boss comes to you and is irate over something you have done or not done. From your perspective the issue didn’t seem to be significant enough to warrant the boss’ tone of voice, or choice of words. Which takes me to my point: If the response seems out of proportion to the provocation, then you should strongly suspect there are other factors contributing to the response. Check out the video below:
This is called the Golden Rule and those who practice this in every part of their life are worth their weight in Gold! Let’s go one step farther; do unto others as you would like others to do unto your mother, daughter, or other loved one. When we treat others as we would like to be treated not only do they love it, but there is an inner affirmation that we’ve done the right thing. Check out the short video below: