Rebuke

Rebuke

“One who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than one who flatters with the tongue.” (Pro 28:23)

I am not sure why, or when it started, but we have a false view of what it is to be ‘Christian’. We have equated it with being ‘nice’. It is such an awfully insipid weak word. But it is true; we have taken the rugged Carpenter and turned Him into an effeminate pale apparition. We have taken on a distorted shadow.

Sometimes we are called on to be tough, and to call it as we see it. Sometimes we are required to bring light to darkness, and salt can be an astringent and a disinfectant. Can we rebuke? Yes, in love, with wisdom, and a heart to reconcile and bring good fruit.

The easy option is to flatter the ears of men rather than follow the call of God and intervene for good. Take the narrow road and you may win a friend for life, redeem a lost soul, or uncover the potential resident in a team member.

Encourage and complement, don’t flatter, Rebuke in love and wisdom, don’t crush and cut with your tongue. If you learn the difference you will be wise and effective.

Quick Prayer: Give me the wisdom, heart and strength to confront and rebuke when necessary Lord. Amen.

Be Gentle

Be Gentle

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Pro 15:1)

When we are in a position of authority in our company, there is a temptation to be harsh. We can easily display emotions that are not appropriate. This is especially true when we are faced with an angry person.

The wisdom of this Scripture is that an unexpectedly gentle response can disarm a potentially volatile situation. Often when we are challenged, we may assume a gentle answer is a sign of weakness and that authority demands a certain demeanor. This Scripture would indicate a better way.

Gentleness is not weakness, often it is an expression of an inner strength, a transformed heart, one full of the peace of God. Your gentle response is a witness.

Leadership does not demand that we act in a harsh or distant manner. Our example is Jesus. How did He act? Take a look in the gospels for an example of true leadership in action.

Quick Prayer: Help me to be gentle. Amen.

Lip Fruit

Lip Fruit

“A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth. The work of a man’s hands shall be rewarded to him.” (Pro 12:14)

Do you want to be filled with good things? Speak well and work hard. These two things go hand in hand. Individually they have an effect and together they produce good fruit. God says that as you operate in this way, you will be filled with good things and rewarded.

In business and our personal lives, we impact people. What we say has the power to build up or tear down. That influence on people often determines our success in all realms of life.

We can say good things and do, good things. Both are important and part of our witness at work. As leaders we set the tone and our teams are a reflection of us. How we treat others, what we say and how we say it, will be echoed across our organisations.

Quick Prayer: Thank You that You value good words and good work. Amen.

Tongue Holding

Tongue Holding

“One who despises his neighbor is void of wisdom, but a man of understanding holds his peace.” (Pro 11:12)

Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. Giving someone a piece of your mind may be a piece you can ill afford to lose.

There is grace in overlooking an offense, mercy in not taking retribution, and forgiveness in answering gently to a harsh critic. Grace, mercy, and forgiveness are all things that have been freely given to us.

Leaders sometimes seem to act with impunity and ‘cut loose’ on staff when things don’t go our way. There is no place for such behaviour in the workplace or in the Kingdom in any of its expression.

Let’s treat others as God has treated us. Thank goodness He does not give us what we deserve. Why not treat others as God treats us? Our businesses will be all the better for it.

Quick Prayer: Help me bite my tongue sometimes, please, Lord. Amen.

Fountain

Fountain

“The mouth of the righteous is a spring of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.” (Pro 10:11)

Fountains are wonderful. They are refreshing, life giving, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. Our words should refresh, encourage, and inspire those around us.

The alternative doesn’t bear too much consideration. Today be aware of what you say. Are you speaking life or death? Your mouth should be a fountain of life.

Try and be conscious of what you say and its possible impact. If you are anything like me, you will be surprised by how little you say that enlightens the life of others. Maybe that is why the wise seem to speak little and listen a lot.

God has given us responsibly as leaders to grow, nourish and encourage those whom he has entrusted to us. It is a responsibility we should not take lightly, particularly in how and what we say.

Look for the opportunity to refresh someone at work this week. You well may be surprised by the reaction, though I would hope it is not one of total surprise.

Quick Prayer: Let the words of my mouth refresh others. Amen.

Flattery

Flattery

“With persuasive words, she led him astray. With the flattering of her lips, she seduced him. He followed her immediately, as an ox goes to the slaughter, as a fool stepping into a noose. (Pro 7: 21-22)

We all like to be admired. Leadership does attract attention from those in subordinate roles and from a larger section of community. It is easy to begin to believe that we are somehow special outside of our place in Christ.

Our vocation is just that, a calling of God aligned with the gifts and talents He has given us. All we have and all we are is from Him. When we are not fully centered in that reality we can succumb to the flattery of others and get puffed up with pride.

A vulnerably to flattery, that we all have to some measure, makes us vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation. The price of which can be quite devastating. In this instance a fall into adultery and its dire consequence.

But the principal is just as relevant in business. If you are being flattered, it may be a genuine compliment or it may be, as it often is, the desire of the other party to ingratiate themselves, based on some other agenda.

Quick Prayer: Protect me from flattering lips Lord, my self-esteem is in You. Amen.

Mercy

Mercy

“He who conceals his sins doesn’t prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Pro 28:13)

One of the down sides of an omnipotent God is that He sees everything. We have nowhere to hide. In fact, He knows what we are going to do even before we do it. Every dumb, crazy thing we will choose to do between now and when we die He is already fully aware of. We cannot surprise Him in any way.

So if we fall, let’s not find a dark corner and have a pity party; let’s not get into condemnation, saying, “God can never use me.” Let’s not stop meeting with Him as we wallow in our own disappointment and pride.

God has already forgiven you. He provided full pardon at the cross for all the sins of all men for all time. It is finished. Confess your sin, receive God’s mercy, and move on.

Quick Prayer: Thank You for Your mercy, Jesus. Amen.

Honesty

Honesty

That which makes a man to be desired is his kindness. A poor man is better than a liar.” (Pro 19:22)

We all have an innate reaction that will cause us to protect ourselves when under threat. Our first response when we are accused is to deny. We learn to overcome this protective response though the conscious choice to operate in honesty and integrity.

At what point would we lie to save ourselves, or our finances? This is a tough question and one hopefully we won’t need to know the answer to, but I would doubt many of us would refuse to say a little, tiny, insignificant white lie that wouldn’t hurt a fly rather than lose all our finances, our house, car, job, and possessions.

The same is true in our leadership roles, what would it take for us to lie rather than take a financial penalty? Some say we all have a price, is that true?

God’s view? It is better to be poor than a liar, and honesty is a mark of unfailing love.

Quick Prayer: Keep me honest above all things. Amen.