I’ve started running again. Last year I clocked over 500 miles, ran my first half marathon, and felt generally great about exercise. Then in the autumn I got some injuries that curtailed my running. At about the same time, I transitioned to lead pastor at Cornerstone. Suffice to say, my running life fell apart, my waistline increased (only slightly) and my dreams of a full marathon in 2013 went out the door. To kick start things now, I’ve signed up for another half marathon in May, and have begun my training to get back in shape, on pace, and build on the work I did in 2012.
This morning, I stepped out into the zero degree weather. And we’re not talking Celsius here! Run number two of 2013 went well, despite the snow and ice still taking up large swathes of sidewalk. And I did notice that a) my beard was gathering frost and b) my nasal hairs had ice on them. But I didn’t mind too much because I was distracted listening to a podcast. Time is a precious commodity to me, and so I have to find ways to suitably combine certain things. I want to learn from other leaders, and I can’t read a book whilst running in the dark around Nampa. I suppose an audiobook would work, but I love highlighting and annotating too much to do that. Podcasts, on the other hand, are perfect running fodder. So I’ve lined up a few to check out each week and will listen to things as I pound out the miles.
Today, I queued up an old Andy Stanley podcast that was recorded around the presidential election in 2012. He talked about how cultural issues and leadership positions can sometimes collide, and shared some wisdom he’s learned over the years about what and when to share. The big idea that really rolled around my brain was this:
Don’t allow making a point to undermine your ability to make a difference.
I think we’ve all seen that happen. We’ve all been the guilty party on that one. The moment you choose to win the argument instead of resolve the situation, you’ve crossed that line. Yes, you could well be right about your stance. But in being proven right in your own eyes, you’ve damaged relationship and nothing is going to get done. I’m still thinking this idea over, given that the crazy version of this concept results in a complete loss of integrity regarding values and an utterly pragmatic stance on life. Andy Stanley doesn’t strike me as a guy who would let that fly, so I’m not accusing him of that! I just see that there is an opposite error to the one Stanley is warning about. Two wrongs making two wrongs, both causing equal devastation to leadership trust.
It isn’t just a leadership issue. It’s a relational issue across the board. Spouses do it, parents do it, employers and employees engage in it, and the government does it, and every time, things grind to a halt. A stand-off of ideological proportion ensues, the trenches are dug deeper and deeper, but there is not change at ground level. And ultimately, as a Christian, I’m looking for change. I hunger for transformation. Being a follower of Jesus must not result in a mere set of ideals with which to judge the world around me. Yes, there is right and wrong. But Jesus came to change things. Dead people are brought to life. Broken people are made whole. The fatherless are given a True Father. The lonely are given a Comforter. Jesus changes everything, and his followers are here to both announce and engage in transformation.
So, today, if winning the minor point in an argument will cost you the relational capacity to see actual change (in you too!), then reconsider your motives and commitments. Change is better than personal points. Jesus knew that when he hung on a cross, for our transformation, rather than proving his point as the Son of God.