Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Dear Colleagues,


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The other day I was chatting with a young woman who spent a summer in Washington D. C. as an apprentice journalist in the hope of one day becoming a professional news reporter.  By the end of the summer she backed away and is now studying to become a physician. The reason?  The destructive environment of dog-eat-dog competition.  Henri Nouwen, in his book, Life of the Beloved+ speaks of the suffocating world that accepts or rejects us according to its own agenda of efficiency or controlThe world persists in its efforts to pull us into the darkness of self-doubt, low self esteem, self-rejection and depression.

It begins in childhood, perhaps on the playground: Who is chosen first in sandlot baseball, then popularity games in high school, who gets into the frat or sorority at the university, and then on into the raw world of business. Recently I played a round of golf with an old friend and a couple of his pals.  Later I reflected back on how the impressive achievements of each man was artfully finessed into the introductions: A three star general in the Army, the CEO of an insurance company, a noted author, etc. To be one of the boys one must have achieved at a certain level.

In the media, and in real life the beautiful people reign. Joe average, it seems doesnt have a chance. Isnt it interesting that movies like Forrest Gump, My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Shriek were all big hits? All deal with the anti-hero; the little guy who is struggling with life.  Something within us cries out that we the average person can win and gain a measure of respect in a cruel world.

Let me suggest three ways you, Gods chosen and beloved, can be protected from being robbed of living out your immense worth to God:

First of all, we have to keep unmasking the world about us for what it is: Manipulative, controlling, power-hungry and, in the long run, destructive.  The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this.++ You have to go back to the promises and truths of Gods word as to your immeasurable worth to him.  Ponder, claim and appropriate them for yourself.  Daily. Hourly if necessary!  For example: Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Eph. 1:4-8 NLT)

Secondly, we need to get around a company of believers who know and experience the truth of who they are in Christ: In this company you will gain reinforcement, nurturing, and a renewed perspective and hope: Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.  (Heb 10:24, 25 NLT) Toughing it out alone will spell defeat.

Thirdly, we need to constantly celebrate our status as Gods beloved ones: Learn to thank and praise him throughout the day.  Rather than grouse over the problems at work, the nation, or the world, focus on worshiping and praising him as you reclaim and rejoice in your unique position and calling as his child: …God has given us the privilege of being born againGod has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies goldand your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold.  (I Pet. 1:3-7a NLT)  

+Life of the Beloved, Page 48, Henri J. M. Nouwen, Cross Road Publishing Co. N. Y., N. Y. 1992

++ Life of the Beloved, Page 49, Henri Nouwen,

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