Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Remembering instruction in turmoil

Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 "In your anger do not sin"[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I can't count how many times I've read through the passage above and thought, "Duh." In my mind, I didn't struggle with all of this. I didn't live or work in a world of confrontation, forced to work out difficult situations in difficult relationships, or even expected to make a challenging decision without being the sole spokesperson for myself. As a single person who worked in a profession of black and white ethics, I suppose I was blind to the real challenge of keeping "the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."

Since then I've been married, been challenged by obstacles I could not clear on my own, and generally had my life turned upside down. I'm in a new career where performance is not measured in talent or effort. Abstract thought has no value until it becomes something marketable. Performance is now measured in results, achieved by some of my competitors by dubious means. In this industry, mistakes are not there for learning experiences because each mistake has a dollar value, and the cost of error is too great to be a slow learner.

Where I once saw maturity I can now see a lack of experience. I can now appreciate the real imposition of these verses for someone who's never really been confronted with having to please difficult people.

I'm not so cocky anymore.

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