The ministry of Jesus is often quoted for his doctrine of love. In the second installment of the Trilogy of Mercy we wish to spotlight that Jesus did not place restrictions or conditions on his comments about love, grace and mercy. However, many of his followers’ place qualifications on his word, which were not intended.
The first installment highlighted what Jesus would do if he was just like us and we take the discussion a step further to challenge different interpretations.
Jesus Did Not Say
Jesus did not say,
To “Love your neighbor as yourself,” unless
Their difference makes it hard to comply
And bias makes it hard to acquiesce
And your discomfort makes it hard to try.
He did not say,
“Take care of widows and the fatherless;”
Unless, the budget is under a strain
Instead of searching for how you can bless,
You rationalize and ignore their pain.
Jesus did not say,
To comfort and care for the poor, unless
You can convince yourself that they’re to blame,
For financial uncertainty and stress
Flows from their actions and goes with the shame.
He did not say,
“Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul”
Unless, it’s inconvenient today.
Why put your future under His control,
When you can prospect for a better way?
Jesus did not say,
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,” unless
The trilogy of mercy are three works inspired by Scripture that wrestles with the mandate of love your neighbor. They are,
What would Jesus say, if he was just like us?
Jesus did not say (which speaks to no qualifications or disclaimers on his love)
The saga of the least of these
These poems are present in the book Daily Resurrections. The book is not a devotional, but it can be used that way. The title refers to the signature poem covering points during the day and during our lives when we are submerged and immersed in situations from which will rise.
Intellectually, we submit to the basic tenets of love and forgiveness. We accept that we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, we must be reminded about mercy and how it goes hand in hand with love and forgiveness.
The first installment of the trilogy is a poem entitled What would Jesus say, if he was just like us? The poem is good for personal reflection and a group discussion. There is an irony in us expecting good things from God when we are reluctant to have His goodness trickle down from us to our neighbors.
If Jesus was just like us,
What would he do?
There is a matter I would like to discuss
What would Jesus do if he was like us?
Would he forgive unconditionally,
Or from a list he formed on Calvary?
He said, “Come to me all who are heavy laden
And I will give you rest.”
But would he make us fill out forms
And pass a series of tests?
And based on our affiliations,
Affinities, addresses and how we live,
Would he base reconciliation
On if he thought us worthy, to forgive?
If Jesus was just like us I wonder
About self serving parties to mark his reign,
Commanding the lightning and thunder
As miracles for personal gain.
Would he choose disciples by their net worth,
Socialize with an exclusive crowd,
Suggest we store treasures here on earth
As pompous, privileged ones and the proud?
To those who took the more traveled road,
For beating the system would he reward
Those who took short cuts to lighten their load
By throwing their good neighbors overboard?
What would Jesus do if he was like us?
Would grace be earned and favor granted?
Do you think he would be inclined,
To answer prayers with the favors slanted
To those with nice bodies, pure souls and minds?
Touch the hem of his garment for a price
Or sell tickets to let the spirit in;
Would he pose as the perfect sacrifice?
Would he do anything to save his skin?
There would be no need for confession
He’d love us only if and only when
We blame others for indiscretions
And go cold turkey to curb our sin.
Free will eliminated or curtailed;
Abandons when there is an accuser;
A constant companion until we fail;
To not associate with a loser.
Would he charge for frequency and length of prayers;
You must be awarethatfatigue it is one of the obstacles you will encountergoing through the leadership gauntlet.Self-healthwill strengthenyour mental physical and spiritual well-being. When we are fatigued, we cannot do our best work. We are not able to think clearly or created. I’ll run down feeling of low energy also reduces our productivity. A key component of is the amount of rest we receive. The sleep foundation says that “While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep.” Are you getting enough sleep every night?
Secondly, we are surrounded by date to increase our awareness of nutritional foods and those products that may be good for us. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NHLBI suggests that we have a healthy eating plan. “A healthy eating plan: Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.”
In my book, the Isle of Knowledge I focus on the mantra that I use every day. I want to get my REPS in as a part of my normal routine. R stands for reflection. I begin each day thinking about the day and the activities that lie before me. E is for exercise. It may be simple calisthenics stretching or going to the club for more rigorous activity, such as lifting weights, running or participating in a spinning class. P is for prayer to ensure that I am spiritually centered. S is for study, which requires light reading to establish continuous learning. The study may be at the beginning of the day, during the day or at night before I go to bed.
You would agree with me that you do your best work when you are rested. Your ability to last and avoid fatigue is influenced by your eating habits, exercise routine and the amount of sleep you receive.
Pharmaceutical sales representatives are familiar with the customer referred to as the “Know-it-all doctor.” The connotation was not just a physician who knew everything, but an individual who was arrogant and spoke to people in a condescending manner. There was a feeling of superiority which made it difficult to deal with others. The air of arrogance made it hard to be effective as a leader. The person who knows everything and feels no one can teach them anything, is difficult to talk to and may not be open to receiving important information.
Many times, we use arrogance to cover-up for an insecurity. We don’t want people to recognize a deficiency in some aspect of our behavior and we do not wish to be challenged. On other occasions we do not wish to be questioned because we feel we are better than everyone. Humility is not a skill that makes them comfortable.
When you make the commitment to move beyond arrogance, it must be done with authenticity. Here is an example of what not to do. A manager received feedback that addressed his arrogance of feeling he was always right. It revealed that he did not listen to his direct reports, did not solicit their comments, but when they were given, he would not value or use them. It was described as follows.
He would adopt the stance of a good listener, someone concerned about his staff’s point of view. He would lean forward, establish direct eye contact and use transitional phrases such as, go on, is that so, I did not know that and tell me more. At the conclusion, he would thank them for their courage and valuable input. He would close by saying, he was glad to have the opportunity to know how they felt, but he would continue with his idea and the original plan. His subordinates were confused and wondered why ask for their opinions and bother going through such a pointless exercise. His actions curtailed their ideas and reduced trust. Why give comments if they did not matter?
Personalize your actions to prevent arrogant behavior by focusing on these areas.
Beware of arrogant tendencies.
Listen to others.
Involve others in your decision making
Include their ideas to show you value their suggestions
Do not respond in a threatening manner when you don’t like what you hear
People do not wish to support the arrogant person. They may withhold information. They may watch someone go down the wrong path and remain silent. They will surely not give them their best effort. They will do just enough to keep their jobs. They will engage in OMDB (Over My Dead Body) behavior and thinking. Review the poem below and reflect on it and discuss with others.
Many of us may be blind to our arrogant ways. In order to change we must be open to critical remarks without taking them personally. Act as if people may feel you are arrogant, and request insight. A manager read the poem below and was offended, for it struck a nerve. He was offended by the content because he thought I was speaking to him. However, members of his staff contacted me and confirmed that it was an accurate depiction of his arrogant leadership style. Let’s act as if this might be the case. Remove personal anxiety and allow people the opportunity to give you comments that are good for everyone.
New leaders, in my day, were given 3 pieces of advice. These words were to guide us throughout our business careers. These words could also be a gauntlet for any leader. They have been known to demolish the morale in an organization and destroy someone’s reputation and career. We were told to never get involved in conversations regarding sex, politics and religion.
A new leader had many areas to grow and we did not need to be distracted by these very volatile topics. We can debate the relevance of this advice today, but I would like address one of the topics in a positive way. We frequently hear about the desire for employees want to bring their entire selves to work. We cannot deny that spirituality is important for many people.
Spirituality is a key part of our makeup that defines who we are. Organizations may not discuss religion in the workplace, however many of them will provide space for people to reflect, study and pray at work. Organizations should be sensitive and aware enough to encourage religious expression, outside of proselytizing (recruiting) and making others uncomfortable.
Spiritual Leadership in our 31 Day leadership gauntlet refers to the way our spirituality influences our decisions and our interaction with others. It also covers how we express personal values that align with corporate values. Creating a climate where morality, respect, responsibility, integrity, caring and forgiveness are practiced, is essential for a respectful workplace.