Healing the Division

Valentines is a day dedicated to show and share love. Unfortunately, we are all too eger to share our thoughts and show our contempt for those who think, act or behave differently than ourselves. It has caused a large division within our society. There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.

When I was ten, my family moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to him. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really didn’t know any better. Somehow, I got on the wrong side of  the playground bully. The bully, Nelson, was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. Nelson called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why Nelson wanted to beat me up.

As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked Nelson why he was mad. Nelson said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.

The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not made any derogatory remarks against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next few of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on this friendship. While God call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.

Unfortunately, our society is all about division. It might be politics, religion, race, gender, sexual preference. Everyone feels it is better to condemn and ridicule versus loving and accepting. We don’t all have to agree with each other. In fact, that is not a good thing. We need to bring our differences, our experiences, our skills, our background to make things better. We were made unique and different. It is time we celebrate our differences and simply love one another. I encourage everyone to try blessing others. Celebrate the differences through the love of Jesus. “For God so loved the world He sent His only Son to die for us.” This way we can be reconciled with God, just as we reconcile with each other!

Give someone a Valentines present!

Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.

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Performance Management According to the Bible

We have all dealt with poor performing or poor behaving employees. It is the nature of putting different people together and expecting them to work together in a harmonious way. I have been on both sides of the table. I have had to give performance messages and I have received a performance message when I lead a global project. I talked about it in the <<being trustworthy blog>>. I have also had to deal with co-workers who were behaving counter to the corporate culture. What is interesting is every company I have worked for had a different way to dealing with the issues of performance and behavior.

There is a scale in which employee issues are dealt with at each company. Some have a culture to deal with it immediately and you only get one strike and then you are out. On the other end of the scale is the company who doesn’t want to deal with it and allows employees to perform and behave any way they want. Most are in the middle somewhere. The ones who are a one and done tend to have very explicit job expectations and if you miss, then you are out. Many times without any kind of severance. On the opposite side, when leaders do not address the issues, they tend to pay off the employee to leave since there is no documentation. Documentation is needed because there are employee protections under the law. So a payoff or severance is necessary to keep the employee from talking.

There is a better way than what most companies follow. There is a heavenly principle and a biblical way to deal with an individual who is not performing or behaving the way they need to. We find it in Titus 3:10-11.

“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.”

We also see the model in Matthew 18:15-17

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

In both verses we see a model by which we should look to resolve behavioral or performance issues. If it is a co-worker, go to the person and share your feedback. There is a great model that I have used successfully with peers. Instead of just pointing out the issue use this model:

“When you”…fill in the issue or behavior the other person has

“I feel”…fill in how it makes you feel.

So an example might be:

“When you don’t meet your commitments…”

“I feel frustrated because I am not able to meet my commitments.” This takes any accusatory tone and places it on the result of their action or inaction.

Another way is to ask the person if you can give them some feedback. If they say ok, then let them know what you have observed and then give them an example of how it might be different or better. This way the person will feel like you are wanting to help them improve. An example would be:

“May I give you some feedback?”

“This is what I believe you do really well…”

“This is what I believe you can improve on to be even better…”

Both are great ways to approach a co-worker to take the first step outlined in the passages. If they don’t work, then it is good to escalate to their manager. If nothing changes, then it should go to the manager and Human Resources. They will be able to do the documentation necessary for the performance improvement. If nothing changes from the manager or HR, then the company should let the employee go.

The model is to basically to give the person three chances to improve. If they don’t, then it is on them and they should be let go. That is a consistent heavenly principle.

What do you think?  Would this work?

DNA Test

In John 2:18-19, Jesus has just cleared the temple of the money lenders by releasing His righteous anger. In disbelief, the crowd at the temple look at each other and a brave person asks, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” The people are asking Jesus who he was. It would be like asking a man if he was really the daddy to his children. Of course, the man could show them a DNA test or just look at the facial features and see the similarities.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are a new creation. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). In essence, we get new DNA from God. This new DNA transforms us into sons and daughters, as God did not want to leave us as orphans (John 14:18). Because we are new creations with different DNA, we look like Jesus. People begin to expect us to act like Him as well. The DNA inside us start to shine, the more we allow Holy Spirit to shine through us. This in turns draws people to you as they are attracted to Jesus, even if they do not realize why.

Nick was approached by a person who needed a ride home. The man was attracted to Jesus in Nick. Nick could have made an excuse not to help. He could have said he was already late or he was going in an opposite direction. Instead, Nick traveled down a road less travelled and help the man. Because Nick had agreed to help, it was much easier for him to share Jesus with the man and gave him tangible evidence that Jesus was real.

Jeremy had just moved for his fourth time during high school. As the new kid, he was not known by anyone. While the other students did not know Jeremy, they saw the image of Christ in him. Jake had met Jeremy and was in a couple of his classes, but really did not know him. When Jake needed someone to listen and pray with him, he sought out Jeremy. He didn’t know why, except he was drawn to Jesus and felt like Jeremy would be a safe place to get council and advice. We can all let our new DNA shine through to those around us. When we do, just watch how others are drawn to you, which opens the door for you to share the love of Jesus.

Action for the day

Today, choose to live like Jesus. Ask Holy Spirit to be evident in your life. Wherever you go, be sure to have the mind of Christ and interact with others the way Jesus would. Make sure the Fruit of the Spirit are evident today. The fruit are: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let these be the guide as you go about your day.

Prayer for the day

Today Lord allow me to reveal Your fruit of my life. Let me live out love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in a tangible way that draws others to you. Let me join You in the work You are doing and draw others to me. Reveal what actions I should take to demonstrate Your love. Let Your DNA in me be evident to anyone who is in need of You. Let me be your hands, feet and voice. Thank you for being my daddy. I love you and ask for these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Time for Reconciliation

There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 is says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.

When I was ten, we moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to me. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really did not know any better. Somehow, one of the boys I had made an enemy of was the playground bully. He was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. He called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why he wanted to beat me up. I was much more interested in being his friend since I understood him more than the kids who had only lived in one place all of their lives.

As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked him why he was mad at me. He said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.

The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not said anything derogatory against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next couple of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on a friendship. While God does call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled is with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.

 Action for the day

Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.

Prayer for the day

Jesus, thank you for loving us and reconciling with me. Thank you that you did not leave me as a sinner and an orphan. But I am now Your child and a royal priest. Father, I ask you to help me reconcile with those who I have wronged. Give me the courage to say I am sorry and let this bring You glory. Let this be the first step in our reconciliation, but also reconciliation with You. It is in your powerful name, Jesus, that I ask these things. Amen.