Grace as an Organizational Paradigm

Every once in awhile you will have someone on your team that is just … amazing. They come to the table with all sorts of talents, strengths, skill sets and experience, and a good attitude. The problem is, even with great team members, great team dynamics, cohesion and engagement, sometimes there is miscommunication, misunderstandings, and  misperceptions. Sometimes there’s just a miss.

The reason is that even the best people are broken.  Even the greatest asset on your team is … incomplete.  The reality is, working with people is often messy, fraught with difficulty, and even painful.

All of the difficulties stem from the fact that each of us has a limited perspective. We have limited perspectives because we are incomplete. We are not all-sufficient. We are not all-knowing. We are not all-powerful. We do not have inexhaustible brain capacity.  We are …finite.  Therefore, our ideas, our opinions, our perspective, our judgments, are partial and incomplete at best.

This is also why we need each other.  We need the perspectives, the opinions of others in order to be informed and to have the fullest view.  Leaders who assume they already have all the answers and do not need the input of others are short-sighted. But make no mistake, filtering through their personalities, their own limited views, and their one-sided opinions can be really difficult in order to get you there can be really difficult.

The only way to have a pain free, difficulty free, organization is to have one that does not include … people.

The scriptures make it clear from the beginning of Genesis to the end of the book that we are designed to need each other. For example, God created Adam by forming him out of the dust and breathing life into him.  But, he created Eve by taking something out of the man.  The moment God performed this supernatural surgery Adam became …incomplete.  And what he was missing was only to be found in another … human.  This is why when they came together the bible says, “for this reason a man shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one” (Genesis 2).  They went from being separate to being a unit.  They were incomplete, now complete.  They went from two parts to one whole.

Each of us is designed to be incomplete without the strengths, the gifts, the abilities, and even the weaknesses, of others. And maybe this is why God, in His vastly superior wisdom, instituted the concepts and principles of forgiveness, of mercy, of Grace – because He knew we would need it to garner relationships.

The reality is I cannot fully appreciate or tap into the gifts of my fellow man if I do not simultaneously operate in grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Because, the strengths of my team members are encased in their own brokenness, their own respective incomplete nature, and their sin.

So, even superior teams can be difficult at times.  Even the most loving families can be hard to love. Even the closest relationships often require grace. But, without them we are deficient, impaired, and limited.

“Put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don’t be proud. Be gentle and patient. Put up with one another. Forgive one another if you are holding something against someone. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you. And over all these good things put on love. Love holds them all together perfectly as if they were one” (Col. 3:12-14)

 

The Secret Marriage Healing Agent

 

Recently I was re-wiring an outlet in our house.  I realize that for many this may seem like a simple assignment.  However, I am certainly no professional electrician.  So, this little job was more of an adventure than it was a routine task.  First step – remove the outlet cover. Simple enough.  Next I removed the screws that held the outlet inside the electric box.  Done.  At this point I was feeling pretty confident.  The next step was to pull the outlet out from the wall far enough to loosen the screws that held the electrical wires to the outlet.  So, I did the obvious – I used my index finger and my thumb to grab each side of the outlet.  Not thinking, I placed them squarely on the wires on either side of the outlet.

Zap! –a JOLT blasted through my hand!

I immediately JERKED my hand back and without thinking I jammed my fingers into my mouth to sooth the instantaneous tingling-burning sensation.

Surprise! – I forgot to flip the breaker that supplied power to the outlet.  Whoops! Lesson learned.

But, here’s the real lesson:  It is a natural response to sooth and heal wounds within our own body.  Wounds almost never heal without some intentional attention and care, especially deep wounds.  The deeper or more severe the wound, the more care it needs.

In the midst of his exposé concerning the relationship between husbands and wives Paul made an amazing statement that may be often overlooked.  He explains “Husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself. No one ever hates his own body, but provides for and takes care of it” (Eph 5:28-29).

The reality is all of us are broken.  All of us are wounded in some way.  The way I read this passage is that it is our job to care for, attend to, and minister to, our spouse’s woundedness.  It is our responsibility to attempt to sooth and bring healing to our mate.  It might even be possible that the reason the Lord put us in their lives is to attend to their healing.

Unfortunately, many times we respond to our spouses out of our own woundedness.  We tend to react out of self-preservation rather than service.  As a result, instead of healing we often cause further damage and deepen the wound.  We know he needs affirmation but instead we criticize, further damaging his ego.  We know she needs understanding but instead we snap, further damaging her self-esteem.  But, I believe part of God’s call on my life is to recognize my wife’s woundedness and respond and react to her in a way that brings healing, not further damage.

Imagine how different our households would be if we actually did what Jesus said we should be doing, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:35).  Jesus came to “bind up the brokenhearted.”  If we are truly to love one another as Christ, then attending to one another’s healing might be a top priority.

Things to think about.