Years ago, I had a management job in a company that had some issues. There were things about the company that I didn’t much like, and things that were a lot of fun, so I suppose that like most jobs there were ups and downs. One of the things that I didn’t much care for was that the highest level of management had a way of keeping people on edge, which quite frankly made my job a lot more difficult than it needed to be. The man who started the company years before was a mixed bag, one might say, in that he was a really great guy when you got to know him, but a jerk until you did. He seemed to love stirring the pot!
He did this by scaring people; that seemed to be almost a pastime for him. He liked to yell and scream and intimidate, when all that was really necessary was for someone to explain something, and the result was that he was generally feared and his presence in the office was dreaded by most people who worked there; turnover was high as you might expect.
A person would get the idea that the “Big Guy” had noticed a mistake on their part, and paranoia would set in. They would expect trouble, and sooner or later they would find it. So many times, people would come to me and say that they were sure they were going to be fired for something because Mr. Big was ‘after’ them. I knew when Mr. Big was unhappy with someone, and most of the time the people who came to me weren’t even on his radar, yet they were certain that they were going to be fired, and they began to act badly at work.
This kind of thing was so frustrating for me because no matter what I said or did, the people believed they were going to be fired and their attitudes would be in the dumpster, which altered their behavior and their work and eventually they would be fired. Their belief became a self-fulfilling prophecy. It was entirely unnecessary.
Now there are certainly lessons for managers here; don’t act like a jerk just because you can. There is a larger lesson for the rest of us: Watch out what you let yourself believe, for your beliefs will shape your attitude, your attitude will shape your behavior, and your behavior will cause a lie to come to pass.
I wonder how many believers in Christ allow a lie to creep into their minds and spiral down this cliff. Let’s say they allow themselves to think that nobody likes them, and then the spiral begins and before long they are just too difficult to be around. How many allow a lie to creep into to their thinking like, say… “I don’t think I’m really saved.”
I’ve seen people turn their backs on Jesus because of this one; maybe you have too.
This principle applies to so many thoughts and attitudes that originated with a little lie… Faith destroyed, marriages destroyed, relationships broken; how often did it all start with a lie?
The New Testament teaches us to hold fast to the truth; to hold fast to our faith in Jesus Christ no matter what, in fact the whole book of Hebrews is written on this theme.
Yet we don’t always listen, for the little lie in the back of our minds seems more attractive, or more real than the reality right in front of our faces.
How tragic is that? What needless misery…
It might interest you to know that Mr. Big was aware that people feared him, and he didn’t like it. One day when we were alone and I was arguing with him about something or other, he asked me why I could talk to him “like a man” and everyone else was afraid of him. I told him the truth, that I did not depend upon him for my job. He seemed irritated by that, and in a rough tone of voice asked me how that could be. My reply was that I didn’t depend on him because I believed that Jesus Christ was the source of my living and that if one job didn’t work out, there would be another one for me. Can you guess what Mr. Big (tough guy) said to that?
He said that he wished everyone else saw it that way because all he ever wanted was for them to just talk to him like I did…