A friend of mine at work has a poster on her bulletin board that makes me laugh for the irony of it, especially considering where we work. The poster is of a bundle of matches lighting up with one sticking up in the middle of them all. This match is brighter than the rest. The large caption underneath says, “BURNOUT” and in smaller letters below it says, “Attitudes are Contagious”, and in still smaller letters it says, “mine might kill you”.
Now I know it’s all intended in fun and once in a while we can share a good laugh at no one’s particular expense, but let’s think about this a minute. Is there an “expense” that goes with sarcastic messages? After all, it’s only a poster with a funny, albeit ominous message. I know the person pretty well. She’s Christian. So am I. We’re both nice people, I think. I also think most people think the same of us.
The other day I was participating in a teleconference with my supervisor and a peer. This teleconference seemed to drag on interminably and my impatience was starting to become visible to the point that it annoyed my boss. She’s also a Christian and one whom I respect a great deal because she really struggles to “make her audio match her video” as the saying goes. I fancy that I do but when I fail, as I did on that day, it is not always apparent to me.
Well, as I said, it became evident to her and she justifiably called me on it. I’m grateful that she did and I immediately knew that there was only one correct response for me to make at that moment.
Before I get to that, here’s the test for you, whether you’re a Christian or not: What was the only correct response? Ask five people this question and you will, no doubt, get five different responses. Here’s what I did.
I apologized in the presence of the peer to my supervisor. It was obvious that my sarcasm in the teleconference distressed her, more so because of my walk. Later, I returned to her office by myself to have a Christian to Christian talk about anything else she might have noticed about my attitudes or behaviors that she thought I should look at, and correct, so that I could become a more effective leader at work, and a more effective and repentant Christian.
The key to this talk hinged on being truly repentant and turning hard from the poisonous attitudes I had been indulging in, “all in good fun”. It was important to me to do this and it was important to my supervisor. We have an office that functions extremely well, despite the poisons we drink in from time to time. Staff work well together and support one another with only a few clashes of attitudes popping up now and then.
For my part, I now know that the imperative becomes not just to do my job, but to glorify my God in the process and this is entirely about attitude. No longer will I drink the poison of sarcasm which the world calls “wit and wisdom” or “good fun”. No longer will I associate with those who target me for abuse, because of my walk with the Lord. The walk in which I occasionally stumble.
Like my supervisor, I will gently, lovingly seek to set straight those who are drinking the slow acting poison of sarcasm, and poor attitudes that drag them and others down in hopes of creating a place where God’s glory has a chance of manifesting itself. By the power of the Holy Spirit in me, I will not allow myself to fall like many who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…Romans 1:21-22
I challenge you, dear reader, to do the same. Glorify God where you are always!