“Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.”
— Luke 12:2
SECRETS ARE NOT SECRETS IN BUSINESS OR IN LIFE
Recently I was talking to a young person, Rebecca, whom I had helped start her career. She was working for a large, well-known company. It was a great place for her to start. In this counseling session, she mentioned that she and some other employees had recently been discussing a senior manager in an unfavorable light. I immediately stopped the flow of our conversation and focused her in on that conversation about the senior manager. I cautioned her not to engage in conversations with others in the marketplace about her personal feelings. It was dangerous. She should always assume that whatever she said would get repeated.
“In the marketplace the difference between a secret and a general announcement is that the secret gets told to one person at a time.”
In the marketplace the difference between a secret and a general announcement is that the secret gets told to one person at a time. Whatever we say, we should be willing to have everyone hear. Many times these conversations are innocent at first, but they can take on a life of their own. Many of these secrets are passed on with embellishment as well. By the time the offending person hears the story, it is louder, more critical, and certainly not reflective of the original intent. These conversations can end careers.
“Jesus implores us to consider carefully what we say.”
In today’s verse Jesus is very direct with this assertion. Jesus implores us to consider carefully what we say. But the verse is also about where our heart is. Are we sure when we say something that we have both sides of the story? Is this venting just to fit in with the crowd? How would the other person feel if he or she knew? These are questions that should be asked.
“If we feel strongly enough about something, we should have a warm and assertive conversation about it with our colleagues and superiors.”
If we feel strongly enough about something, we should have a warm and assertive conversation about it with our colleagues and superiors. When conversations like the one Rebecca mentioned occur, we should gracefully bow out. This is the reminder Jesus is giving all of us. And all of us have engaged in these backroom exchanges.
Jesus always wants us to be kind to our neighbor. A simple question we can ask before we get to deep in these conversations is how is the person going to feel when they hear our observations?
Today, let us consider our conversations and determine if they are wholesome. Let us remember that what we consider innocent could be volatile. Let us remember that our superiors, other workers, customers, and vendors have a point of view as well.
Resisting these negative conversations is hard, but Jesus reminds us, all will be uncovered.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
What do these conversations sound like?
How do we defuse these conversations, by reframing or by being silent?
How would the other person feel?