#123: Are There People God Really Hates in Your Organization?

Or, Does God Hate the Sin in People's Lives?

We like to think about God as this wonderful teddy bear who loves everything. But is that true? Does God love everything or are there some things God hates?

Sin, Hate

Several places in the Bible God says what He hates.

  • God hates idols (Deuteronomy 16:22).
  • God hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7).
  • God hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6).

But the more complete list of what God hates is found in Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV)

Note that everything God hates is an act of sin. God loves the person but hates the sin. Do you have ‘sinners’ like this in your organization?

Let’s look at these seven things God hates one at a time:

 

1) Haughty Eyes

God hates the pride in a person because prideful people have a high view of themselves, which is easy because they look down on everyone else.

Lesson for Us. Beware the prideful people in our organizations. Pride caused Lucifer to fall and was at the root of the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Prideful people tend to do several other things God hates.

2) A Lying Tongue

God hates lies because people who lie cannot be trusted. They are quite happy distorting or disregarding the truth altogether.

Lesson for Us. Liars are most often trying to protect themselves from their mistakes or to take someone else down. Either way, they are a danger to your organization.

3) Hands that shed innocent blood

God hates injustice in the form taking an innocent life or even acts of violence against an innocent person.

Lesson for Us. Obviously, we don’t want murderers in our organizations, but the idea of shedding innocent blood includes acts of workplace violence.

4) A Heart that devises wicked schemes

God hates the devious schemes of those who plot against others.

Lesson for Us. Schemers that plot evil against others have no place in our organizations. At the least they destroy moral, at worst they destroy the organization.

5) Feet that are quick to rush into evil

God hates the desires that cause some to fulfill their fleshly desires to harm others.

Lesson for Us. Some people rush into trouble. They relish the opportunity to bring harm to others.

6) A false witness who pours out lies

God hates false testimony. The Hebrew word for ‘false’ here is the same word used previously for ‘lying’. These people manufacture completely false stories about others. The idea of testimony conjures up the image of a courtroom, and that is certainly correct, but the term used here is broader and includes any false testimony against someone else.

Lesson for Us. How many corporations have been brought down by someone who provided false information to the board, to the company auditors, or to federal investigators? You don’t need anyone who falsifies information or reports at any level in your organization.

7) A man who stirs up dissension among brothers

God hates dissension and discord. It was Satan’s rebellion that created division in God’s kingdom.

Lesson for Us. Some people love to get into the middle of issues, it doesn’t matter what and split people apart. They are like arsonists who light a fire, and then stand in the crowd to watch the fire burn.

Haman, a Biblical Example of the Sins God Hates

If you would like to study a Biblical example of the sins God hates, read the story of Esther and Mordecai in the book of Esther and pay attention to Haman.

  • Haman was puffed up and full of pride, especially after he got promoted.
  • Haman lied about the Jews as a people to the king in order to get back at one man.
  • Haman’s plan was to annihilate the entire Jewish population of Persia; men, women, and children.
  • Haman’s schemed against the Jews and convinced the king his kingdom was at risk.
  • Haman was so furious with Mordecai that he hatched a plan to have gallows built overnight so that Mordecai could be hanged the next day.
  • Haman lied to the king and to the people making up completely false stories about Mordecai and the Jewish people.
  • Haman’s lies and falsehood divided the people in such a way that the entire nation was given permission to kill and plunder any Jews they found throughout the nation.

You probably (hopefully) don’t have any Haman’s in your organization. You probably don’t have those who would shed innocent blood, but given the amount of workplace violence you can’t assume you don’t.

Aside from a pretty low likelihood that a murderer is in the office next to you, there are absolutely, positively, people in your organization who are prideful, lie, scheme, dive into trouble, report falsehoods, and generally stir up trouble and strife in the organization.

That is the sad fact of the fallen human condition. All have fallen short of the glory of God! Everyone at some time or another probably commits one or more of these sins. If you tried to clean house there wouldn’t be anyone left to run the organization.

Your task as a leader is to weed out the habitual offenders while being an example of what God loves (see the Beatitudes in Matthew 5).

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you had to deal with people who display attributes God hates in your organization? What was the impact on the organization?

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Category: Personal Development | Values

#122: Expect Opposition When Attempting to Accomplish Something Great

Have you ever had God give you a big, audacious vision of something He wanted you to accomplish? It was so big you didn’t even know how, apart from Him, you could possibly do what He was asking?

Nehemiah Oppression

I guarantee that if you accept God’s challenge to accomplish a great work for Him, you will be met with opposition. The enemy stands ready to resist God, and will use any number of weapons to thwart your success.

Nehemiah was a Jewish exile who was cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia. God presented Nehemiah with the idea of returning to Jerusalem to coordinate the work of the returned exiles who were attempting to rebuild the city walls.

He spoke to the king who approved the trip to Jerusalem and even paid for the provisions and material needed out of the King’s treasury.

Shortly after arriving in Jerusalem, Nehemiah gathered the leaders together and challenged them to get busy rebuilding the city. As they started the work of rebuilding the city walls and gates they faced both internal and external opposition from those who wanted to see the rebuilding efforts fail.

Nehemiah faced six types of opposition:

1. False Accusations

Powerful outsiders who lived around Judah falsely accused Nehemiah of rebelling against the king. Nehemiah rebuffed their accusation saying that God would give them success, and continued the rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:19-20).

Lesson for Us. The opposers will make false accusations as you begin to do God’s work, but they are the ones with false motives and lying tongues. Our response should be to pray and keep working!

2. Derision

When these powerful outsiders found that their false accusation didn’t stop the work they resorted to mocking the rebuilding efforts, suggesting that the people were too pathetic to do the work themselves and that the wall would fall down at the slightest touch (Nehemiah 4:1-3). Nehemiah’s response was to pray to God and to continue the work.

Lesson for Us. The opposers will mock you, make fun of you, and do anything they can to shake the confidence of the people doing the work in an effort to get them to quit. Our response should be to pray and keep working!

3. Attack

As Nehemiah continued rebuilding the opposition forces came together and plotted to attack Jerusalem to throw the people into a state of confusion so they would stop working. Nehemiah’s response was to pray to God, to encourage the leaders, and to post guards to protect the city (Nehemiah 4:7-14).

Lesson for Us. When other more subtle methods don’t work, the opposers will resort to outright attack. They’ll do anything and everything to create confusion amongst the people doing the work, so that that they will quit. Our response should be to pray, encourage the leadership, and take steps to protect the workforce from the opposers.

4. Set a Trap

As the work neared completion the opposing leaders tried to set up a meeting with Nehemiah, but their intent was to kill him and thus stop the completion of the work. Nehemiah’s response was to pray to God and refuse to meet with them (Nehemiah 6:1-9).

Lesson for Us. The opposers may try to set a trap for you, as an unsuspecting leader, in an effort to discredit you and stop the work. Our response should be to be prepared for traps coming from the enemy, pray to God, and continue the work!

5. Set Another Trap

When the first trap didn’t work they tried to intimidate Nehemiah and trap him into fleeing into the temple out of fear that men were coming to kill him.  Nehemiah’s response was to pray to God and refused to be intimidated by those who threatened him (Nehemiah 6:10-14).

Lesson for Us. Just because the first kind of trap didn’t work doesn’t mean the opposers won’t try again. Our response should be to pray to God relying on His strength and protection, and refuse to be intimidated by threats.

6. Spies in the family

The work of rebuilding the wall was completed, and most of the enemies gave up their opposition. But one man who had family inside Jerusalem was writing letters to family members, and the family members were trying to convince Nehemiah how great this man really was. Nehemiah’s response was to reject their attempts to influence and intimidate him (Nehemiah 6:17-19).

Lesson for Us. Never assume that all the opposers lie outside your organization. There are quite possibly a number of people inside your organization working against you. Our response should be to pray to God for His strength and protection, and keep working towards God’s best!

At some point in any great work, whether it is in a ministry or in a business, there will be those whose desire is to see you fail. They will oppose you with false accusations. They will mock you. They will come at you with direct attacks. When those don’t work they will try to traps and more traps. And when all else fails, they will use spies in your organization in an attempt to poison your work from the inside.

Note that Nehemiah’s response to the oppressors was to pray and to act based on what was needed in that situation!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. What kind of opposition have you experienced in your ministry or in your workplace?

 

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Category: Skills | Problem Solving

 

#121: Do You Lead Like a Trail Boss or a Shepherd?

When I was a young manager I was a trail boss. Now that I am a bit older (and hopefully wiser) I am trying to be a shepherd.

Shepherd leader, sheep

What’s the difference you ask?

The trail boss is the guy in charge of the cattle drive. He bosses the cowboys around and is responsible for getting the cattle to wherever they need to be. As the name ‘cattle drive’ implies you ‘drive’ cattle. You get behind the cattle and drive them, push them, and holler at them to keep them going in the direction you want them to go. When some of the cattle split off in another direction you round them up and drive them back to the herd.

Before I became a Christian I was a trail boss. I tended to drive my employees, push them, and yell and holler to get them to do what I wanted them to do.

A shepherd, on the other hand, moves the flock of sheep by leading them. Sheep are social animals who don’t like to be alone, they have good memories, they are followers by nature, and they don’t like loud noises and yelling.

As a Christian, I kept running into Bible verses about Jesus being a shepherd, and Jesus telling the disciples to be a shepherd. In John 21:16, Jesus tells Peter to “shepherd my sheep” (some translations say “care for” or “tend my sheep”).

Since most of us have had limited experience tending sheep it’s a bit hard to really understand what it means to shepherd sheep. Tending sheep is more than feeding, it includes caring, leading, guiding, and protecting the sheep.

Peter provides the elders with a great description of what it means to be a shepherd leader. He is speaking to the elders as an elder—he is one of them, but he comes with the authority of being an apostle of Jesus Christ.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)

There are four characteristics of a shepherd leader in this short verse:

1) Shepherd Leaders recognize their role is to be a shepherd

To be a shepherd caring for a flock means to feed, care, lead, guide, and protect the sheep.

Lesson for Us. Being a shepherd leader means our role is broader than often construed in the secular world. We need to care about the whole person, guiding, leading, and protecting them.

2) Shepherd Leaders know the flock belongs to God

The flock may be your employees, but they were created by God, and in that sense are all His children.

Lesson for Us. Shepherd leaders realize that they are ultimately responsible to God to care properly for His created beings.

3) Shepherd Leaders serve as shepherds for the right reasons

Godly leaders serve voluntarily, not because of what they receive, and not begrudgingly or out of obligation.

Lesson for Us. Shepherd leaders lead out of a sense of duty to serve, not out of a desire to make themselves rich and powerful.

4) Shepherd Leaders serve as an example to the flock

Godly leaders are not “do as I say not as I do” leaders. Their walk matches their talk.

Lesson for Us. Shepherd leaders lead by example, following the example set for us by Jesus.

People in our organizations are not like a herd of cows that can be driven from point to point. Instead of leading like the trail boss we should lead like shepherds who love and care for their flocks. If we lead like shepherds we will let our light shine before men so that others will see it and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Which type of leader are you, a trail boss or a shepherd?  Which type of leader do you prefer to work for?

 

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Category: Skills | Leadership Development

#120: How to Recover When You Slip and Fall as a Leader

I loved the results one young sales manager was achieving. He was delivering on every new product launch. He was above quota, and below budget. I didn’t dig too deep into how he was achieving these results because I trusted him.

Leader slips falls

BIG MISTAKE!

It turns out he was using allowances from the next product launch to pay for the promises made for the previous launch. In reality, he was not under budget. He was actually way over budget. When his deception was uncovered he “left” the company, and left his mess behind for others to clean up.

Needless to say my boss, and his boss was not happy with me. I had failed to manage an employee properly. It cost the company a chunk of money, and more important, it cost us credibility with our customers.

Most leaders I know, when pressed, will admit that they have failed as a leader at some point in their career. The question is, “what do you do to recover?”

How do you recover when you slip and fall as a leader?

By and large King David was an excellent leader whose heart was fully devoted to God. Even so, David made a couple of huge mistakes as a leader, and he provides an excellent example of what to do when we fail.

God was with David and gave him much success over a period of years. With this success, David became prideful and began to trust in his own power rather than in God. So he commanded a census to be taken of all the fighting men in Israel (1 Chronicles 21). This was a direct violation of God’s law. David’s military commander pleaded with David not to order the census, but David stubbornly refused to listen to his advisor. God was displeased (to say the least) and He struck Israel.

David admitted his sin

When David realized he had angered God, the first thing he did was confess his sin to God, admit he had acted foolishly, and ask God to take away his iniquity (1 Chronicles 21:7-8).

Lesson for Us. Mistakes don’t go away because we ignore them. Get out in front of your mistake by admitting your failure and asking for forgiveness. It is never good if the boss finds out you’ve got an issue that you tried to hide.

David submitted to God’s judgment

God offered David a choice of three punishments: three years of famine, three years of devastation by your enemies, or three days of an angel of the Lord destroying throughout Israel (1 Chronicles 21:11-13). David chose to be punished by the angel of the Lord rather than fall into the hands of man.

Lesson for Us. David didn’t try to avoid God’s judgment. He didn’t try to blame someone else or excuse his behavior. He simply accepted God’s judgment, praying for God’s mercy.

David repented of his sin

When David saw the angel of the Lord with his hand stretched out over Jerusalem, David clothed in sackcloth (a sign of mourning) fell on his face, and begged the Lord not punish the people for his mistake (1 Chronicles 21:16-17). David then built an altar and offered sacrifices to the Lord, and the Lord accepted David’s sacrifices.

Lesson for Us. Saying you’re sorry is a good first step, but being repentant is far more important. Repentance means “to turn away” from your sin. When you repent of your mistakes it shows the strength of your character.

There is a price to pay

Regardless of what led to your leadership “slip and fall” there is a price to pay. In David’s case, even though he took responsibility, his mistake brought judgment on the people. In addition, to restore his relationship with God there was a material personal price that had to be paid.

Lesson for Us. As leaders, we must recognize that any mistake we make is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond ourselves. In my own example, the consequences were far reaching. I had to deal with an employee who defrauded the company. Relationships with customers had to be rebuilt because trust had been breached. And of course, this whole episode didn’t exactly help the advancement of my fledgling career.

None of us is a perfect leader

Sooner or later mistakes will be made. The big question is, “What will you do, and how will you respond?” Consider David’s example a great case study. He admitted his wrong, he submitted to judgment without excuse, and he repented of his error. Good lessons for us today!

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you experienced a “slip and fall” during your career? If so, what did you do to recover?

 

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Accountability

#119: Through the Looking Glass

How do your employees view you as a manager?

On the minds of most managers is the question, “What are my strengths and greatest needs for improvement?” Second, managers want to know, “How do my employees view me as their leader?”

Both of these questions relate to self-image. How you view your own performance has a significant impact on your relationship with others.

The Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz only appeared green because of the green glasses everyone wore. Similarly, how you view yourself as an employee and a manager creates a “filter” through which you evaluate other relationships.

The self-image filter affects us in many ways; it provides motivation for our work, it shapes the way we perceive the world, it provides a way to judge our own behavior, it is projected in the way we deal with others, and it is the cornerstone of something we all want – self-respect.

Psychology 101 taught us two important things about self-image. First of all, it is learned. Self-image is not something we inherited from mom and dad. Second, self-image comes from feedback. Feedback is the report card that we get from others in response to our actions.

For example, someone tells you you’re good with computers. Pretty soon you get a reputation as someone who can provide help with computer questions. You find yourself working harder to stay ahead of the pack to maintain the self-image of someone who has great computer skills.

As your confidence grows, desire to improve increases, your skills improve, and your self-image is enhanced. It becomes a circle of constant skill development and improvement.

On the other hand, someone says you’re not very good at public speaking. The next time you have to give a speech this thought keeps repeating itself in the back of your mind. Suddenly, you can’t string three words together into a coherent sentence.

These types of positive and negative examples of self-image have affected all of us. What they teach us is that since self-image is learned from the feedback we receive we can adapt; we can strengthen what we do well, and work on areas where our skills are not so strong.

What does all this self-image stuff have to do with the manager/employee relationship? Plenty!  The image you have of your employees and theirs of you provides the filter through which your relationship is developed. If the image is strong the relationship is positive, if the image is weak the relationship is negative.

11 Factors Influencing Your Image

The following eleven factors play a significant role in the development of image between a manager and an employee. Understanding these image builders will make you more effective as a leader in your organization.

Frequency of Contact/Availability

If someone were to ask one of your employees how they see you as a boss would they say, “I don’t know, I never see him”, or “I only see her when there are problems.” Or would your employee answer, “I see her all the time, she’s always available to help. I like her and trust her.”

Nothing can substitute for a manager who is seen frequently and is available to their employees.

Approachability

Employees must be able to get in your door and feel comfortable talking to you. Do your employees know when the best time to see you is? The more an employee feels they can bring any problem to you the more likely they will seek your assistance.

Walk-Abouts

Sam Walton’s famous trips to visit his stores have heightened awareness of the importance of meeting employees in their workplace. Employees feel important when the boss comes to them and communications are more open.

Open Door

Some managers make a pretense of having an open door policy; they smile, they talk a great game, and they say they want to hear about your success and your failure. In reality, they only want to hear the “company line – no real problems please”. It doesn’t take an employee long to learn not to seek advice from this kind of boss.

Open Communications

Open communications in the office are absolutely necessary. If an employee can find you and can get past your secretary to see you, but can’t communicate openly with you for fear of recrimination, you’ll soon lack vital information you need to keep the business profitable.

Clear Expectations

Do a survey about what employees want from a boss and the answer in more cases than not will be, “I want to know exactly what he wants me to do.” This doesn’t mean the employee can’t or doesn’t want to be self-directing, but it does mean they need clearly defined boundaries, and clearly defined goals and objectives.

Fair Performance Reviews

Performance reviews are usually conducted quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. They are the formal opportunity for the manager and the employee to discuss performance related issues.

If you’re doing a good job of providing feedback to your employees, nothing said in the formal performance review should ever come as a surprise to the employee.

Subordinate Review

Subordinate review of the manager is becoming a common practice. Usually linked to the performance review process, it is the employee’s opportunity to provide feedback to the boss.

Provide Recognition

Barnabas was known as the “encourager”. As a manager, you should look for ways that you can provide encouragement to your employees.

Share Information

If employees understand how the work they do contributes to the company vision, they will make better decisions in their day-to-day work. There’s nothing like an employee who understands the effect on the pocketbook of having a 10% reject rate when a 1% rate is achievable.

Employee Development

Knowledge translated into a technology that brings a new product to market will be the lifeblood of companies that survive and prosper in the 21st century. Providing continuing education and training for all your employees will be the only way to ensure a steady flow of new ideas and competent workers.

Getting Started

How do employees and peers view you as a manager? Ask yourself the following questions.  As you consider your answers think about how you really come across to people, and how you usually react to different situations.

If you’re really honest about the answers you’ll know how your employees and peers view you as a manager.

  • Do you have frequent contact with your employees?
  • Do your employees feel comfortable coming to you?
  • Do you have contact with your people at their workplace?
  • Do your employees freely discuss difficulties with you?
  • Do you seek input from your employees?
  • Do you always make sure that job expectations are clearly communicated and understood?
  • Do you provide your employees with fair, constructive job performance reviews?
  • Do you ask your employees how they see you as a leader?
  • Do you support your employees by giving credit for jobs well done?
  • Do you share relevant, important information about the company with your employees?
  • Do you encourage your employees to continue to develop their skills through work-related training?

We need to take a serious look into the “looking glass” to discern how others view us. The eleven questions above will provide a start.

As Christians, we are to let our light shine before men in such a way that they see our good works and glorify our Father (Matthew 5:16).

To provide this light in the workplace is our greatest opportunity for ministry. Don’t treat this responsibility lightly, people’s salvation is at stake.

Bonus Whitepaper

If you would like a broader discussion on this topic, download the Through the Looking Glass  6-page whitepaper.

Bonus Whitepaper–Through the Looking Glass

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you looked through the looking glass to see how your em,employees viewed you? Did you like what you saw?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Leadership Development