The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin. – Proverbs 10:8
You know, the thing about those Proverbs… they don’t mess around. Some portions of Scripture dilly dally around to get to the meat of the matter. Wow – the Proverbs – not so much. They say what they mean and they mean what they say!
Whether your boss is wise in heart or a chattering fool… once in a while they will criticize you about something. Let God worry about which they are… you just make sure you are wise in heart and know how to be accepting of corrective criticism. 😉
You may ask, “Can you combine the wisdom you get from God with a quick wit?” I’d ask how you couldn’t? Maybe it’s just how God works with me, but more times than not, if I’m enduring some corrective criticism and asking God’s Spirit for help – He not only provides wisdom, but He also gives me thoughts about how to lighten the moment. It’s very unusual to not have His wisdom and a joke or a story pop into my mind simultaneously.
Is it necessary to explain what a chattering fool is – or how they can ruin??? I pray I’ve never been one, but I was young and immature at one time, so… here’s the thing… we are all works in progress. God’s not done with any of us yet.
By the same token, God loves us too much to leave us in an immature state. He wants us to grow in our faith. Let’s focus on the positive… how do we become WISE IN HEART??? How do I learn to accept commands, to accept corrective criticism, to accept help given by authority to make me better? What is that key attitude that God wants me to have as part of my armor to navigate this life?
- PRACTICE DISCERNMENT. I say “practice” because discernment is a part of wisdom that only comes with practice… lots and lots of practice. When a person in authority corrects you and you are tempted to let it hurt your heart, stop that process in its tracks – stop it right there. Pray that God’s Holy Spirit would help you discern whether the correction is 1) necessary and 2) helpful to your future workmanship. If God’s Spirit lets you know that it is both necessary and helpful to your future workmanship – then and only then can you accept it, learn from it – and move on. When corrective criticism is given about your work – something you are being paid or compensated to do a certain way – and it meets this criteria… it is not aimed at you personally. Take notes… do what you have to do to get it right – but don’t let the criticism set in your heart!
- BE GRACIOUS. We’ve all received corrective criticism – and a few of us have received the rantings of a fool who just happens to be our boss, am I right? Regardless of whether you work for a wise person or a fool, always be gracious. There are times to scream and cry and shout and yell at the top of your lungs. That time is not as soon as you’ve been chewed out. Go to the bathroom and stand in a stall or if it’s raining, go outside for a while (rain is great camo for tears). My new go-to is a workout, followed by a shower. Take it out on those machines… they can take it!
- TOW THE LINE BETWEEN STRENGTH AND UNDERSTANDING. God did not make you to be a door mat. If you are unjustly called on the carpet, do what I call “the quick prayer” – you know, like, “Lord, please help me here – this isn’t right.” He knows! It’s amazing how quickly he answers those prayers. He answers as quickly as you pray them. If you work for a wise person, they can show understanding and answer any questions you may have. If you work for a fool, it could get tricky – but God’s going to work that out for you because you asked Him to! A foolish boss will just chatter and chatter to hear him/herself talk. It’s frustrating. But, when God makes your boss need to take a breath, don’t be afraid to be strong and find out more deets about the proverbial raking over said coals. Ask nicely, but be strong, keeping a calm, even tone.
- STAY SWEET. Sweet words are like honey to the soul – even the soul of a foolish boss. The wise boss will understand where you’re coming from, but the foolish boss will mistake your sweetness for weakness and assume you are afraid of people. Nothing could be further from the truth, but in any case, stay sweet. If you have been criticized and have prayed about it – and discern that it is unjustified, don’t lose your cool. That wrecks your witness to your foolish boss. Remember that God hasn’t given up on him/her. You shouldn’t either. The battle is the Lord’s. Be still and let HIM fight it for you.
- BE PRUDENT. Once in a great while, we really do have to choose our battles very carefully in the workplace. We need to be wise and think about consequences that follow actions. Is X worth Y??? Again, we pray and ask God for HIS way to handle things. When Jesus was taken before Pilate, remember how He didn’t speak, even though He was heading for a horrific beating and subsequent death on the cross? One without wisdom just pops off without a thought of what follows. Keep emotions in check – God’s got the big picture under control. Sometimes it’s a matter of just taking the criticism and keeping your mouth shut.
- EXERCISE INTELLIGENCE. Before I explain, I want to say that intellect and common horse sense don’t even graze in the same field. There are educated idiots running around all over the planet; however, if you are hearing corrective criticism from your boss and you actually have some knowledge about the subject at hand, it’s okay to speak up and explain why you did what you did the way you did it. If you want God’s wisdom, it’s not always going to be intelligence that He wants you to use – but if it is, you’ll know it.
- HUMILITY DOESN’T HURT. If you can accept the criticism from your boss, pray about it (in your head – God hears), and be wise in your response… add a dash of humility into the mix. Most bosses, whether wise or foolish, come down off their high horse long enough to let a humble person know that it’s okay to be human now and then. Again, take a note… do what it is you need to do to keep it from happening again. Being humble is a huge (pronounced UGE) part of acquiring God’s wisdom.
God’s wisdom in the workplace will give you true joy and satisfaction of spirit. It’s true… read Proverbs 16:16. 🙂