7 Stages to a Great Apology

When we mess up, what do we do? Many people just like to act like nothing happened. Some people like to shift the blame to others. I want to give another thought. APOLOGIZE!!!

How in the world do I give a good apology? That is a question that has plagued mankind for thousands of years! Hang in there! There is an answer!

I am forever grateful to Rick Stein, Specialist of Alliance Peacemaking,

for his incredible patience in teaching and training me on the 7 A’s of confession from Peacemaker Ministries! Let me share with you the “7 A’s of confession” or what we might call the “7 Stages of a great apology”. I have had the great opportunity to put this into practice… a lot! I hope you learn from my mess ups!   

1.Address everyone involved

When we offend others it is very important to address everyone. We should not ask someone to represent us with others. Addressing everyone allows us to be able to show that we are remorseful and that we do care.

2.Avoid if, but, maybe

Have you ever heard something like… “I am sorry if you felt that way,” or “I am sorry but maybe you should not have…” or “I am sorry, however, maybe you should have behaved…”? Yeah, SAME! Those are not apologies! They don’t own anything! Avoiding words like “if, but and maybe” are necessary for clearly communicating an apology.  

3.Admit specifically

Nobody likes hemming and hawing! Nobody likes vagueness when it comes to an apology! Nobody likes feeble attempts at being sorry. When someone offers an apology without admitting to the specific issue at hand it does not feel like they are owning their part and consequently it does not feel like an apology.

4.Acknowledge the hurt

We got to get out of our own skin and look through someone else’s eyes and acknowledge the hurt that the person is feeling. We might ask, “how would I feel if someone did this to me”. Once we answer that question it is pretty safe to say that the person to whom we are apologizing to feels the same way!  Acknowledge the hurt.

5.Accept the consequences

Sometimes our actions have the consequence of not being trusted or hurt. That often is not fixed with an apology. It may take time to heal and consistency with a new behavior. They may get huffy or even reject our apology. That’s on them. We must be willing to accept the consequences.  

6.Alter our behavior

A real apology shows that a behavior (words or actions) need to be changed. The way to show that we mean our apology is that there is a behavior change. That a behavior will be altered.  

7.Ask for forgiveness

Finally, we should use our words and ask for forgiveness.

Prayerfully, consider these steps. Perhaps right relationships make us feel good because right relationships honor God!

Do you have other suggestions or ideas? Please feel free to share them!   

 

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4 Filtered Funnel of Grudge Holding

Have you ever been in a spot that you can’t believe that you are in? Have you gotten there and thought “how did I get here”? We’ve all been there!!! I would like to walk through what I like to call the “4 Filtered Funnel of Grudge Holding”.

A grudge is when we are holding something against someone. I asked Siri to define “grudge” for me. Siri came through for me again!!! She said it is “a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury.” (WELL DONE SIRI.) Grudges are easy to have and hard to work through. I have found that walking through this four filtered funnel is very helpful in understanding where this grudge has come from. (What to do about it??? That will be addressed another time! We are being introspective right now.)

1 – Desire

Desires are not bad. Desires can be very good. It is good to desire. Desire can be a drive that helps us to accomplish great things. However, if a desire becomes misdirected or difficult / impossible to obtain then there can be problems! When a desire is filtered through the Word of God and through wisdom then a desire can remain a good thing. However, when it is not it often progresses to a demand!

2 – Demand

These desires can evolve into stronger feelings that turn into something worse. These feelings create demands.  Demands occur when we feel like someone is not helping us to get our desire. Demands can be expectations. Those demands / expectations can be verbalized but most often they are not. Which means, that we have an expectation that won’t be met, in part, because it is unknown. This causes frustration and frustration leads to judgement.

3 – Judgement

Demands progress to judgement. Judgement is reserved for a judge (or The Judge). One of the reasons that we may ask a judge to hear our case is that we can’t see the full picture. Jesus uses an illustration to address this matter and He calls it “getting the log out of your eye” (See Matthew 7 for the full account). Therefore when we are at this stage… BE CAREFUL! We are one step away from severely damaging our relationship!   

4 – Punishment

Yuck! Punishment! This is the ugliest and most damaging to our relationships. Punishment can be subtle or it can be very obvious. They range from not responding to texts (or responding with the passive-aggressive “k”) to not speaking to the person to talking behind their backs to verbal or physical altercations. Here’s the thing… when we hand out punishment it feels right! But it is not right! Punishment must be handled with the most discerning of wisdom and soaked in love (yes, love can yield an appropriate punishment).

Now that we understand the lingo let’s go at it backwards…

Answer the following questions to better use the filter.

  1. Who are we holding a grudge against?
  2. How have we punished them?
  3. What was the judgement we gave them? Why?
  4. What was the demand or expectation that led to this demand?
  5. What is the desire that led to the demand?
  6. Is that desire good? Why or why not?
  7. How can we align this desire with our worldview? (see “Leadership and the Worldview Pie – What does the crust have to do with it?”  https://goo.gl/i1usYg and “Leadership and Worldview – 3 Great questions to ask about every slice of the worldview pie!” https://goo.gl/ivW46q  for more insight into this question.)

 

5 Easy Ways to Hear Better? (Okay 4 ways and one bonus)

What a wonderful world that we live in! You want a cool new shirt? Sweet! Delivered by drone to your house! You need info? Thank you, Google! We live in an instant society. That is pretty great! However, one of the disadvantages (and there are many) is that we are so distracted we often don’t hear what the other person is saying!

Consequently, we then have misunderstandings, hurt feelings, broken relationships and all because we did not “hear” what was being said. I have spent years studying communication, conflict resolution, negotiations, and reconciliation. Let me share with you 5 ways to hear better! You ready? Okay, here we go…

1- Listen with your face –

“Listen with your face!” I heard a pastor say this one time. Actually, he was sharing how his wife told him to listen with his face. As he watched TV he would respond with his default setting “yeah, that’s true.” She got mad at him and told him to “Listen with your face.” I have found that to be a huge factor in communication. We simply need to pause what we are doing and look at the person with whom we are conversing and make eye contact. People feel like we are hearing them… and they are right! We are better hearers when we watch the person with whom we are speaking. We pick up tons of nonverbals (which is a huge factor in communication). We are also better able to connect. There is something about looking into someone’s eyes that make us better engaged!  

2- Fully engage mentally –

So my wife says to me “Kenny, can you drop off your daughter at work and… (I’m not sure what else she said I stopped listening)”! I stopped listening because I was already thinking about what I was going to tell her. In the old days, we had a phrase that we used, we said, “you are not paying attention.” Now we just act like it is okay! Here’s what we don’t like to admit, when we are talking to someone and they start thinking about their “comeback comment” (wait for it… ) we can tell that they are NOT  listening! So… we must pause and make sure that we are understanding what is being said before coming up with a response or jumping to conclusions.

3- Repeat back what you heard them say (sometimes) –

Sometimes it is important to pause and make sure we are understanding what is being said. When the other person is finished speaking… we can stop and repeat what we heard them say in our own words. Here is a word to the wise… if we do that too often we seem… um, well… dumb! It seems like we can’t understand simple English. So let’s use this tool sparingly and only as needed, if needed, when needed. Also, it should never start with “Are you serious…” or “Do you really think…” that is unless our goal is to make them mad (then by all means, that will be very effective).

4- Ask a kind question (maybe 2) –

Did you notice the word “kind”? That’s the key word. People consistently ask questions that are condescending,derogatory or just flat out mean-spirited! That’s not necessary! Ask a kind question. We may have to humble ourselves and ask it like this, “I’m not sure if I understand, can you help me understand what you mean?” Humbling our tone allows people to not feel attacked. It is a gracious way to more easily hear what is being said.  

5- BONUS: Put your phone away

I know this should be obvious but IT’S NOT! I know that it is not obvious because I talk to people all the time who have their stupid phones out and they are looking at something while I am trying to speak to them (often after they ask me a question!!!). This is not just a pet peeve of mine but common courtesy. We can’t engage in two conversations at once. Okay that’s not true… we can’t engage in two conversations at once very well. So let’s put the phone away! People are more important and the good Lord put that person in front of us… we should show them the respect they deserve and put the phone away!

We were created in God’s image. It is good to be heard but we must practice good listening skills if we have any hope in having good healthy relationships!

Is there anything that I missed? Please feel free to post below some additional thoughts you have of easy ways to hear better! Thanks, you are wonderful!

Leadership and Worldview – 3 Great questions to ask about every slice of the worldview pie!

If you read “Leadership and the Worldview Pie – What does the crust have to do with it?” then you understand the concept of “The Crust”. But how do we develop a worldview? Many people say they believe one thing but live a totally different worldview!

Below are some questions that I have found very helpful in developing my worldview. If you have some additional thoughts or questions to ask please post below!

CRUST:

Theology – is the Crust of the Worldview Pie

  • What do I believe about God
    • Do I believe there is a God?
    • If not, do I believe there could be a God?
    • If there is a God, which God?

SLICES:

There are the 9 Slices to the Worldview Pie:  

Philosophy the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Philosophy?
    • Knowledge – how is it attained? Where does it come from?
    • Reality – how should it be understood?
    • Existence – Is there a general purpose? What is it? How does that influence others?

Ethics moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

  • Based on my understanding of God what do I think about Ethics:
    • Where did morals come from?  
    • Why should one behave with any set of morals?
    • How should one behave? Why is that necessary?

Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Biology?
    • Where does life originate?
    • Are we a cosmic accident?
    • Do animals have purpose? If so, to do what?  

Psychology the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.

  • Based on my understanding of God what do I think about Psychology?
    • What is the purpose of your mind?
    • How does your mind control your actions?
    • Do your actions matter? If so, why?

Sociology the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. (as well as social problems.)

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Sociology?
    • Should humans follow a specific set development process? If so, why?
    • Does societal structure matter? If so, why?
    • What is proper human society? Why and how did you come up with that?   

Law the system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Law?
    • What is the purpose of law? Why does that matter?
    • Where does law come from?
    • Why is law necessary for humans?

Politics the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Politics?
    • Why should a group of people use political systems?
    • Whom should benefit from a political system?
    • Do the masses or individuals matter more to the body politic.

Economics the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about Economics?
    • What role does economics play in a society?
    • What should economics matter?
    • Who should benefit in an economic system?

History the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

  • Based on my understanding of God what I do I think about History?
    • Does history have a point?
    • Why does history matter?
    • How does history affect a culture?

After working through the questions on each slice of the worldview pie what did you find? Is your worldview consistent? What are additional questions that may be helpful to ask?  

Leadership and the Worldview Pie – What does the crust have to do with it?

Does it ever shock you how people sometimes just don’t get what you are saying??? THAT DRIVES ME CRAZY! I’m speaking English to an English speaker they SHOULD understand! But often, to my great chagrin, THEY DON’T! Ever been there? Why is speaking and hearing so difficult???

A Thought On Our Speaking and Listening Problem:

One of the great problems with communication is that we often come from different perspectives. These perspectives can be formed because of experiences that have imprinted on us or even formed from the lack of experiences. At times, politicians vehemently disagree about matters on the same topic and they seem to never understand why the other politician can’t get it. However, there seems to be something more deeply at play than experiences or votes for that matter. What I am talking about is a worldview. A worldview is the way that we see things. One might say that a worldview is a set of glasses that cause us to look at the world.

Worldview Pie:

David Nobel identified 10 points of a worldview. I like his perspective but please allow me to change the metaphor, from glasses to a pie. I like to look at worldviews as a “worldview pie.”  Each slice is a different area but the crust (that which holds it all together) is a specific topic. I would say that the crust that holds it together better defines each slice. In other words, if you know what the crust is then you will know how each slice should be understood. How does one understand philosophy, psychology, politics, ethics, sociology, economics, biology, law, and history? That depends on what is holding those slices together.

Let’s take a look at the crust:

With respect to how one views each slice of the worldview pie, there are a variety of possibilities but they are all based on the way that one sees God, this is called, theology. It can also be the way that you do not see God. Your crust could be, “Atheism,” “Agnosticism,” “Theism” or even “polytheism”. From there it may be broken into small components such as “Secular Humanism,” “Agnostic Atheism,” “Christianity,” “Judaism,”  “Islam” or “Hinduism.”

Crust defines the Worldview Pie:

This crust will define the pie. It will help each slice to have a nuanced meaning that will help us to understand where a perspective is coming from. It is the very reason that one group of people sees big government as the answer to most questions and others see small government as the answer to questions. It is not that either group is inherently bad or even spiteful. It is simply that they take on different crusts to their worldview. Their crusts define the pie. If Secular Humanism is their crust then it will give unique flavor to  the way that they view EVERYTHING! If Christianity is their crust then it will flavor everything they participate in.

Theology is the Crust of the Worldview Pie

Here are the 9 Slices to the Worldview Pie with a brief definition. In the days to come I will talk about each slice.   
Philosophy the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.

Ethics moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

Psychologythe scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context.

Sociologythe study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society (as well as social problems).

Lawthe system of rules that a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and may enforce by the imposition of penalties.

Politicsthe activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.

Economics the branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth.

Historythe study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

 

Here are a few questions to consider:

  1. What is your belief about God?
  2. Is He personal or impersonal?
  3. Is He redemptive or aloof?
  4. What are other questions you should be asking? 

Leadership and Purpose: 5 Reflections on being created with Purpose

Leadership and Purpose – 5 Reflections on being created with Purpose

Sometimes we get things out of order!  I understand why! We like to get to the end! There is a thing in creative writing / brainstorming called “Z-Thinking”. It requires you to start with the end in mind! It is a great practice! However, if you do not begin with the beginning then when times are tough and you feel lonely (and those days will come) then you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle!

You and I start with purpose! Let’s not begin by limiting “purpose” to a thing or a direction. That’s just silly. Often that type of thinking assumes that our profession is why we exist or that this “one thing” is why we do what we do. We are parents, workers, children, neighbors, believers, consumers, thinkers, doers, etc. So it is terribly important that we begin with the fact that we are created on purpose, with purpose, and for purpose.

Here are some reflections on being created on purpose, with purpose and for purpose.

1)   You are no accident –

Because there is an infinite God, who is the Creator and He makes everything for a reason (see Genesis 1) and He calls it good and He governs creation then it is a fact you are here on purpose!  No matter what your parents say, nor your text books (we are a cosmic accident, who randomly exist and it won’t matter after we die) we are created with purpose and for such a time as this!

2)  You are a part of a design –

There is a grand picture. History pointed to the coming of the Messiah and now points at the Messiah. We are a part of a cosmic orchestration that will point all creation to the beauty and wonder of a perfect God who redeems! We get to join in on the fun!

3)  There are things bigger than your self –

In a time when it seems like the world is all about us it is important to know that there is something (more like Some One) greater than ourselves. There is a God who loves us deeply and draws us to Himself. He designed us with passions and gifts to point others to Himself as He draws us to Himself! What an amazing God!

4)  You make an impact –

Because God creates with purpose then it is important to note that we make an impact. If word pictures are your thing then consider the strands of a tapestry. Each one is needed and crisscrosses very purposefully with other strands. From the back of this tapestry it looks random BUT from the front it is obvious! You are a part of a tapestry and you make an impact!

5)  Other people are also created on purpose –  

Let’s not forget the obvious. If we were created with purpose and on purpose then others were also. Some may think that means that we all lose value (if everyone wins then no one wins). However, that is not a valid argument. Each person has a place and has a role.

Starting with the end in mind is helpful when we are working on a project but it is not where we live life. If you are a leader or a potential leader then remember that you are created on purpose, with purpose and for purpose.