Taking Inventory: No Finished Goods, but a Work in Progress.
Growing your faith and your business takes time, persistence, and the good Lord above! I am definitely a work in progress, and I have a lot of growing to do. I will not be a “finished product” until I arrive before God and He says “Welcome home!” This week has been particularly filled with growth lessons—and it is only Tuesday! I lost a trusted friend and colleague this week. He didn’t die tragically. He didn’t die at all, but he did kill our relationship as it once was (He too is a work in progress).
You may have read an earlier blog posting about my disappointment (a mild word for my feelings) when this trusted person did something “sneaky.” The action may seem small, but it is more about how the action was taken than the action itself, because it was done in secret. Those I have spoken to equate it to stealing. He may have felt “entitled” to it, but entitlement doesn’t give title to a property.
While I have been angry at the action, I have learned I have made progress. You see while I got angry, I also knew I had to forgive him. Not sooner or later, but right then in the moment that I learned about what he did. The friend I was on the phone with during the discovery of the betrayal was impressed with my reaction.
I do confess to setting “a trap” for the allegedly guilty party to see if I was mistaken in my interpretation. Was this a deliberate action on his part, a deliberate omission, or an “innocent” oversight or “miscommunication”? A quick e-mail revealed the truth of the matter: Guilty!
From guilt to reaction, at this point the issue becomes more about “me” than about the other party. I can control me, but I cannot change him. I can pray and pray fervently for him, and that is a lot, but it is the limit of my actions.
I have forgiven him, yet the betrayal pops into my mind frequently. This person was an important part of my business. As a trusted advisor, expert in his field, and a Christian, he was one of the people I could reach out to when another opinion was needed. He was a “go-to” person to bring in on client projects. Now I must fill the role he played in my business. I will eventually find someone with equal or possibly superior skills and experience, but no one will replace the relationship we once had.
The next person bring into the role of trusted advisor will undoubtedly err at some point. Why? Because he/she will also be a work in progress.
What can you do today to improve your ability to fulfill the role of “trusted advisor”? What do you need to do to move closer to the “finished good” than the “raw material”? First take inventory of how you are doing with the number one guideline on behavior:
Luke 6:31 (KJV 1900)
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
You might know this as the Golden Rule more commonly quoted as: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
If you wouldn’t like it, don’t do “it” to other people.
Second, bury your pride. If you are struggling personally, financially, or in any aspect of your business, ask for help. In this situation, if the person had come to me with his situation and change in circumstances, I likely would have agreed to his action. Now you may question why I would be angry with someone for doing something I would have agreed to if asked. Well, it is one thing to be asked and to GIVE something to someone. It is stealing to not be asked and have the other person take what is yours.
Third, pray, pray and pray some more.
Fourth, read the Word. Read the Word. Read the Word.
Fifth, pray, pray and pray some more.
Sixth, live by God’s standards and not the world’s. This world will tell us if we need it, we should have it. If we want it, it is okay to take it. If someone has more than we do, we are entitled to “redistribute the wealth.”
Finally, know that we are all works in progress; none of us is without sin, but that does not mean we are to accept sin in ourselves or others. We are accountable and are to hold each other accountable to the standard God has set. We must confront bad behavior when we find it and we must accept the consequences of bad behavior when it is our own.
John 8:7 (KJV 1900)
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.