My Musing – At first blush, this is a somewhat curious statement, at least to me. If we strive to keep our conscience clear before God (a high standard indeed), why would we need to concern ourselves about man. Wouldn’t satisfying the former, automatically satisfy the other? It is clear that keeping our conscience clear before God is our top priority and that keeping our conscience clear before man should not take precedence. But the former does not exclude the latter.
Paul states elsewhere to be careful to do what is right in the eyes of all people, and if possible, as far as it depends upon us, we should be a peace with all men. (Romans 12:17-18). Man is fickle, while God is not. So a clear conscience before God will not always satisfy man. Especially if they do not have a relationship with Christ and their only picture of him comes from us. But we must still strive to have a strive to have a clear conscience, “as far as it depends on us.“
The first (and greatest) commandment is to love God (with heart, soul, mind and strength). We need a clear conscience about that. But is second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39). We need to keep our conscience clear about that as well.
My Advice – Sleep well with a clear conscience.
My Musing – “What is truth?” Truth has been defined as a proven or verified principle or statement (fact). A fact is something that is known to be consistent with objective (not influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions) reality (the state of things as they actually exist).
“What is truth?” No matter what is being debated, there can only be one truth. Unfortunately, it is often the case that those on both side of the debate are not really interested in the truth. They are only interested in what they want the truth to be. As a result, truth becomes an orphan. Verification is replaced with fabrication. Objectivity with opinion. Reality with fiction.
“What is truth?” I am saddened that truth has become so inconvenient to so many. I am saddened that lies and opinions (on both sides of whatever the topic happens to be) are driving so many people so far apart. I am saddened that more and more people can no longer agreeably disagree. I am saddened that we are increasingly being defined by what divides us rather than what unites us. I am saddened that “wherever the truth leads” is so distasteful to so many. I am saddened that what used to be a debate between what is true and what is not true has been largely replaced by a debate between “my” truth and “your” truth, when in reality neither are true.
My Advice – Keep seeking the truth “wherever it takes you.” When you discover the truth, embrace it. Even if it turns out to be what you do not want it to be. Finally, be nice.
My Musings – Leadership is not measured by the number of people that report to you. It is measured by the number of people that follow you. People may report to a title on a business card, but they follow a leader. People have to follow the boss. They want to follow a leader. So what makes a person want to follow, as opposed to having to report?
It is a responsibility that hinges almost entirely on character. Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust. Leadership comes from telling us not what we want to hear, but rather what we need to hear. To be a true leader, to engender deep trust and loyalty, starts with telling the truth. (From “Leaders Eat Last,” by Simon Sinek).
My Advice – People will follow and be loyal to those they trust. People will trust those who show integrity, honesty and accountability. These are shown by being truthful, telling people what they need to hear, whether they want to hear it or not. The “voice” of truth is the “voice” of trust. People will “listen to” (follow) a “voice” like that. Be that “voice.”
My Musings – Fear God? “The ‘fear of the Lord‘ is that attitude of reverence and awe that His people show to Him because they love Him and respect His power and His greatness.” (Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (p. 135). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books).
Keep His commandments? Not out of the fear, as we understand fear. But, as explained above, out of reverence, awe, and respect. Why wouldn’t we? Think of it this way. When we were little children, we obeyed our parents out of the fear we understand. Fear of the consequences if we did not. As we grew older and became adults we continued to do the things we were told when we were young, because we revere and respect them, and want to please them. We want to show our gratitude.
The duty of man? Not because it is compulsory, but because we are obliged (do as someone asks or desires in order to help or please them).
My Advice – Do your “duty.”
1 Corinthians 4:2 – Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – Trust is the confident reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone. Being trustworthy means that we are worthy or deserving of that trust. Finally, it is deserveed because of past actions or demonstrations of character, ability, strength or truth. Actions and demonstrations are plural, and in the case of trust the actions and demonstrations are consistent enough to prove they can be counted on. They are reliable. In other words, you expect nothing different no matter the situation or the circumstance (through “thick and thin”).
- We cannot tell people to trust us. It is the result of feeling safe (Simon Sinek – Leaders Eat Last). Feeling safe because dependability has already been proven.
- We cannot buy trust. To paraphrase an old television advertisement, “we gain trust the old-fashioned way – we earn it” (E.F. Hutton).
- We cannot sell trust. “Your words and deeds must match if you expect [people] to trust in [you] (Kevin Kruse).” We cannot sell it with words, but people will buy it when it is backed up by deeds (e.g. keeping your word).
- We cannot question trust. “Trust, but verify,” (Russian proverb quoted by President Ronald Reagan). This quote is backwards. We trust because trustworthiness has already been demonstrated. There is no trust before it has been verified (found worthy). Then, if it is trustworthy, it needs no further verification.
- Trust cannot be taken – “People follow leaders by choice. Without trust, at best you get compliance,” (Jesse Lyn Stoner, author of Full Steam Ahead). People can choose to give trust, but it cannot be taken from them against their will.
- Trust can be lost – “Trust is the hardest thing to gain and the easiest to lose” (Alka Dimri Saklani, Beyond Secrets).
My Advice – You cannot only appear to be trustworthy. You must be trustworthy. It is what you would want from others and what others want from you.
Proverbs 18:13, 15 – He who answers before listening— that is his folly and his shame. The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out. (NIV 19840
“You’re short on ears and long on mouth.”― John Wayne
“I never miss a good chance to shut up” ― James Patterson, Along Came a Spider
“One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears – by listening to them.” – Dean Rusk
“Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
“[R]emember we’re trying to understand their point of view, not necessarily agree with it or support it. Understanding doesn’t equate with agreement. Sensitivity does not equate to acquiescence. [W]e’re merely trying to get at what others think in order to understand why they’re feeling the way they’re feeling and doing what they’re doing.” – Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. McGraw Hill, 2012.
My Musings – Listening involves more than the ears. It involves the heart (sincerity). Listening with the heart does not necessarily mean we will agree with what we hear, but it may help us understand (discern) why they hold the views that they do. Understanding may not lead to agreement, but it should lead to helping us craft a more heartfelt response and improve the odds that we will convince them of what we hold to be the truth.
My Advice – Start a crucial conversation by listening (before talking) with your heart (with sincerity). Only then can your ears hear sufficiently well enough to equip your lips to speak with enough knowledge to persuade others to your point of view. It is foolish and shameful to do otherwise. In the process, you may learn that your point of view was just that and not the truth after all.
1 Timothy 6:11 – But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. (NIV 1984)
My Musings – Here’s a novel thought. How about accepting responsibility, playing by the rules, listening to your critics (they just might be right) and telling the truth. There will be no need to redefine success or try again.
My Advice – Know when to fight and know when to flight.