Don’t Take it to Heart

“Also, as to all of the words which are repeatedly spoken, do not take them to heart lest you should hear your servant cursing you; for there have also been many times (as your heart knows) when you have cursed others.”

(Ecclesiastes 7:21-22)

I suppose that this is one of those areas where it is “easier said than done.” Whenever you are in a position of authority over others, there are times that the decisions you make will not make people happy. Most of those “unhappy” people will not say a word and most of those who will say a word will not say those words to your face. But, boy is there a temptation to want to listen, yet, when we hear them disparaging us for the decision we have made, it can strike to the core. 

In some senses, this is why we are told that leaders need to have thick skin. The danger with thick skin is that you can become calloused and a calloused leader is not a good leader — no matter the ideologies that leader might hold. When you become calloused you move from the thick skin which has been toughened by complaints to an impenetrable skin that is unwilling to listen to the heart of those who have genuine complaints (to whom you would be wise to listen). A better approach is to develop a mature prayer life, for in that you have a place to go when that skin of yours has been pierced by the criticisms of those you are called to lead.

The truth is that you will not make everyone happy…and if you are honest, you have not always been made happy by the decisions of others, so the fingers point both ways. If you are a leader, the best advice that can be given is to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do — always. You will have your critics for doing such; listen to their criticism but do not take it to heart. And, if you are not in that position of leadership, when your leaders make decisions with which you disagree, then seek out the underlying reason for their decision before you start whining and complaining like a spoiled child that does not get his way. If you do this, wide roads of communication and relationship (even trust) will be built, which is of benefit to all in the long run.

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