Several decades ago I was fortunate enough to be singled out for development for a senior post in a company. Part of the process (identified through psychometric testing) was a weakness in confrontation or, to be precise, my lack of it. It seemed that I had a propensity to shy away from public and upfront confrontation, adopting a more softer, round-about approach to people driven or people affected by problems . So I was processed and encouraged to attack head on using not just the logic of the “what’s right” argument, but adding to it an element of what can only be described as heavy pressure which can carry with it a sense of “bullying” – just to secure the company or my beliefs over those of the target audience.
Sadly looking around our troubled world this practice is common in all walks of life: business, politics, the law, religion, sport, voluntary work, indeed everywhere. I cringe at some of the barefaced, rude and unpleasant attacks made to people who are often just trying their best to do right. Gone it seems are the courtesies of respectful argument or just keeping your views to your-self and indeed the time to figure it all out before you act. The effect of hurtful attack cannot be measured by body temperature, spots or skin disorder, it just plain cannot be obviously measured.
Newton’s third law states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. And this is often how war is started.
So Tony, I say to myself, “before you open your mouth, put yourself in the shoes of your audience” and , before you criticise, remember John 8 vs 7 “Whoever is without sin, let him be the first to cast the first stone” and Martin Luther King who said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”.
Lord, please give me the patience and the presence of mind to put myself in the shoes of those who I address and help me respect them and think carefully before I speak or act and Lord, help me absorb and softly understand the comments and actions of those who don’t, thank you.