As a very new minister, I remember wondering what it was like on the “other side of the door.” I was not invited into those meetings by high level leaders and I was always wishing I knew what was actually going on. Fast forward to today – the other side of the door is not all it is cracked up to be. There are hard conversations, decisions and circumstances where you need to have wisdom, patience and a true trust in the Lord to lead you. I have listened to many stories, personal and circumstantial, and have developed these best practice principles.
Is it my responsibility? I ask this question all the time. Most information is second hand and I need to be careful that I stay in “question” mode and not “judgement” mode. Unless I have the responsibility to make a decision, I encourage both sides to continue to work it out. It is so easy to make something “my problem” when in actuality, it is not. People say things and act out – they need to be accountable for their own actions. I can be a catalyst for growth and improvement. In the end, they are responsible for their actions.
There two sides to every story. Whenever someone is telling me a story where they feel it “didn’t go their way,” I know there is another side. It is virtually impossible for someone to tell an unbiased story. (I do it too.) Especially when hurt or disappointed, a person will slant the story to their advantage. This causes me to slow down and ask questions. I usually want to jump to a conclusion so the difficult situation will be resolved. Good leadership will continue to ask questions to reveal the truth.
The Truth always comes out. I believe in this principle wholeheartedly. I know that now, later or eventually the truth about a situation will reveal itself in the right time. It is the nature of truth – it can’t remain hidden. In those tough situations, I have to ask myself the question, “Have I done the best job finding the truth?” If I say “yes,” and I haven’t found it, I have to let it go. How many times in a situation have you heard about something and formed an opinion. Later, more “truth” came out and you have to go in a different direction. Seek truth – it truly will set you free!
Let it go. Maybe I am getting old but I am finding a smaller circle of “life and death” situations. I love passion and strong belief. Yet, people take “offense” at many things that consume their time and energy. I don’t believe that God is stymied in these situations. When at a crossroads, take another step. When someone can’t forgive and can’t let it go, you get stuck. It is easy to stay in the pain and angst when you believe you are right. What does “moving on” mean to you? Find that answer and you will be moving toward peace and forgiveness.
Next time you hear an “other side of the door” situation, what will you do?