Saturday, February 15, 2014
“WINNING OVER” WITH THE WORD OF GOD
I will flat out state it – I find many authority figures troubling.
Wait, let me qualify that statement – I find it difficult to muster respect for those in authority who wield their power at all costs, just because they can.
The truth is, because I have worked under leaders who have led as Jesus did, powerfully but respectfully, never too busy to affirm and support, I have trouble reconciling why those who operate on the opposite end of the spectrum should be in leadership. I have seen all too often the corruption power brings: at work, in families, and, yes, in the Christian community at large.
I wasn’t always this way. I was pretty quiet and very trusting growing up. Looking back, I can’t quite put my finger on what event may have triggered such a radical change in my attitude. Likely it accumulated as a result of a series of encounters over many years.
Sometimes my decision to take a stance against authority figures has resulted in consequences that have hurt me rather than accomplish my purposes for standing up in the first place. Yet I continued to operate like this for many years.
The Bible tells us this: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority.” (Hebrews 13:17) I have struggled with this passage and how to implement it for a large part of my adult life. But the Lord has been moving mightily in helping me understand this Scripture from a spiritual perspective, especially over the last year and a half while I have had the space and time to do a lot of thinking and praying about my life.
Recently, the manager of a large Christian radio station sent out a request for stories about musicians. Never one to ignore an opportunity for marketing, I responded with a brief email outlining my background and accomplishments. I think I have an interesting story – certainly not typical – and was hoping he would agree.
This was the response I received: “I’ve never heard of you.” And that was it.
I was taken aback. I felt like I was being pushed down before I was even given a chance. Those awful feelings of powerlessness started to rise. But as I prayed about this situation, I was convicted not to revert to my old ways of responding, which historically would have been sending back an email pointing out how inappropriate the response was; or just as damaging, not saying anything and stuffing it down, where unhealthy resentment would fester – a strategy I have adopted on occasion in situations when I realized that saying anything would just make things worse.
Instead, I saw it as an opportunity to grow – both for me and for him – in a way that aligned with Jesus’s exhortations about dealing with conflict in the Book of Matthew (see 18:15), which I happened to be studying this week.
So I sent back an email encouraging him to see this as an opportunity to help out a sister in Christ. I shared a couple of Scriptures with him. And I told him I would pray for him. That’s it.
I was pleasantly surprised when he responded back. That led to a dialogue via email over the course of the afternoon, resulting in his encouragement for me to send my Christmas CD Red & White for airplay on his radio station next holiday season.
I am convinced that it was the Scriptures I forwarded to him that changed what could have been an uneasy outcome. I didn’t have to say anything more than point straight to the Word of God.
I will have to remember to do this more often. Thank you Lord for this revelation!
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:24)
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