The Christian Public Servant – “the first step in healing”
June 16, 2016 – Thursday
James 5:16-17 [MSG] Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
I received one of those phone calls last night. You know the type. A good friend in a distant place with a workplace problem. In a nutshell: Her supervisor shouted an obscenity at her, and kicked her out of his office. She was trying to get a much-needed answer to complete a project, but he was stressed-out over his own deadlines. In the resulting grievance, she discovered her supervisor did not have the capacity to apologize. After all, he viewed the problem as her fault – he was forced to be abusive because she couldn’t understand how much work he had to do.
Well the grievance went in her favor, but her phone call centered on concerns about working with someone who is unable to say “I’m sorry.” You see, she learned something about her supervisor’s character.
I told her that apologies are essential in two situations: (1) when you’re truly wrong and (2) when you truly hurt someone’s feelings – regardless of whether you did right or wrong. I reminded her of how everyone has an unlimited supply of apologies – even in the workplace – if your apologies are authentic. And just one heart-felt “I’m sorry” is the first step in healing.
As a Christian public servant, make this your workplace practice. Confess when you make a mistake. Confess when you hurt someone. Confess so that the other person knows that you want reconciliation. Confess because it shows your character – that you are a child of God. If the person does not accept your apology, pray for them because God says your prayers are powerful.
So today at work, say “I’m sorry” as much as needed. Add to it by saying “I was wrong” as often as needed.
An apology does not always remove a problem, like my friend’s supervisor who blames others for his own outbursts and shortcomings, but an apology shows character on your part.
And it is the first step in healing.
Father God, humble me so that I may apologize for wrongdoings or hurt feelings I might cause during this workday. Help me make the workplace whole and healed. In Your Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
James D. Slack, Ph.D., Ph.D.
Department of Public Policy & Administration
Jackson State University
Jackson, Mississippi USA