In the previous entry, we saw the importance of being able to repair. We saw there were three steps: IN, UP, and THROUGH.
When we look at a trial, we see the three steps very clearly:
1. IN is when both sides attend the trial
2. UP is the actual trial
3. THROUGH is the verdict
Notice, the IN and THROUGH steps take up a minority of the time and effort. The UP step is actually the most important step AND it is the step where the most DAMAGE can be done.
The goal of the UP step is UNDERSTANDING not agreement. (Agreement is the goal of the third step.) What is UNDERSTANDING?
People seem to use three words interchangeably: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. These are actually three different words with completely different meanings.
Knowledge is he ability to know facts. Someone who has a lot of knowledge knows a high number of facts. An example is to know how a car works.
Understanding is the ability to take facts (knowledge) from more than one area and put them together in order to create knowledge. Understanding creates knowledge. Understanding is modeling because it takes in puts together knowledge in a way that new knowledge is created...for instance, future events can be predicted.
For instance, if I have knowledge of how a car works, gravity, acceleration, friction, and general physics, I can model an event. For example, if I knew the velocity of a car heading towards a brick wall, I can predict how far from a brick wall I would have to apply the brakes in order to stop the car within a foot of the wall without hitting it. This distance is the new knowledge. It is a fact that wouldn't require the explanation of how I arrived at the fact.
Wisdom is shown in decisions. Wisdom (like faith) is proven by actions, which are a result of decisions. Wisdom is measured by profitability. Wisdom would ask, "Why drive a vehicle towards a brick wall?" Wisdom would most likely be shown when I choose not to drive the vehicle towards a brick wall.
Actually, understanding would tell us there are several things that could happen that make the event unprofitable: what if a child wandered between me and the brick wall, what if there were loose stones on the road, etc.
The Bible says, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding" (Proverbs 4:7)
The Bible also says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (I Corinthians 8:1)
The principal thing is to be profitable as an effect of making good decisions.
Our ability to make good decisions is based on understanding.
Knowledge IN AND OF ITSELF is not a good thing!
Facts can contradict.
Facts can result in not being right.
The key to Stepping UP is to get UNDERSTANDING.
This requires getting facts AND putting them together.
This will result in profitability.
If we don't get all the facts we will be wrong and unprofitable.
If we don't put them together in a non-contradictory fashion, we will be wrong and unprofitable.
If we intentionally choose to be unprofitable we will do DAMAGE...it usually ends up being MORE damage than the situation we were initially trying to repair!
Before going on, you may want to review the following posts"
Understanding vs Agreement
In a court setting, all that is allowed are the facts. However, when it comes to our disagreements with others, we have to take feelings into account. When I counsel people, I tell them their feelings aren't wrong IF they know the CAUSE. They usually seem shocked...
First of all, it is not good to have emotions without knowing the cause. If I told you I was fearful, the FIRST question you would ask is WHY? (Notice, this is CAUSALITY.) If I replied that I did not know, would you say, "That's okay, go ahead and continue to feel fearful."? No, you would continue to use CAUSALITY to determine the source of my fear.
Some people would say that this is ONLY true for "bad" emotions. I would say it is true for ALL emotions. If I said I was happy and didn't know why, why would you say, "That is okay, keep being happy!"? What if my happiness is an effect of the misfortune someone else is experiencing? We saw that justice says I will pay for this. The REAL reason people believe this would be okay is they are trying to avoid CAUSALITY they want to believe the emotion is causeless. (We know that CAUSALITY says there is a CAUSE for EVERY emotion...choosing NOT to know is an expression of the will of the individual.)
So knowing the CAUSE of your emotions gives you the ability to choose to continue to experience it or stop experiencing it. Making the CAUSE of the emotion conscious allows you to become intentional...it allows you to help others.
Second, emotions are a fact...the person DOES feel this way. Why work to deny them? God made us according to CAUSALITY...are you REALLY going to succeed in resisting God?
In fact, this point leads to a comment that has helped a lot of people connect with God...tell God how you REALLY feel about Him!
If you don't tell God how you feel about Him...you are ESSENTIALLY telling God you don't believe He exists! God KNOWS how you feel. You NOT telling God is stating your will that you think you are more powerful than God OR that God doesn't exist. God is Right and Just...God DOES become hindered by your lack of faith. (Faith is belief in something you can't see and/or something that hasn't happened yet. We saw that faith hinders the WORD and WILL of God.)
I have numerous testimonies on how God spoke to people once they told God how they REALLY felt. It is as if God said, "Okay, now that you actually believe I exist...we can talk."
People are afraid they are going to do damage when they share their feelings with God.
Actually, God is more EXCELLENT than us, so He can take a lot more abuse.
However, we do have to be careful when we share our feelings with those who are less excellent than God...
What is the RIGHT way to share your feelings?
How do we share our feelings so that we don't do more damage?
OPEN, HONEST, and VULNERABLE
Remember, in Step Two, the purpose is UNDERSTANDING. We are not reaching a conclusion. We are not reaching a judgment. Therefore, the right way to share feelings during Step Two is in a way that promotes UNDERSTANDING and avoids judgment. Our group has been calling this "OHV" and it stands for "OPEN, HONEST, and VULNERABLE".
OPEN means you are willing to give people access to ALL the information.
HONEST means you will be factual.
VULNERABLE means you will focus on your feelings.
The opposite occurs when people avoid sharing information, twist the information, and use their feelings to reach judgment on others. EVERYTHING about OHV is focused on the individual who is doing the sharing. This gets off course when the individual who is sharing makes another person the focus.
We have a list of guidelines for OHV behavior that I will share at the conclusion of this post. Before I do that, I need to explain some of the methods people use to express themselves...
STATEMENT and QUESTIONS
There really two types of ways people exchange information. The most common is the statement. A person can say a sentence that attempts to state a fact. The issue with statements is the originator needs to make sure their statement is 100% factual. If they state something that is not factual, justice says they will pay for it. Be careful when you make statements...we will be judged for every idle (unprofitable) word according to Jesus.
The safest way to exchange information is through questions. This is essentially a request for information OR confirmation of information that could have been stated. Questions do not open you up to justice (unless you are making a judgment in the question, which we will cover below).
One of the things I tell people who know they are going to have an encounter with someone who makes them mad is, "Take the hurtful statements you want to make and turn them into questions".
Rather than say, "You are making a ridiculous request.", try "Do you think your request is reasonable?" This is the same as "State Your Will" which was mention previously. There is no just reason for the other person to get upset at this question. If they do, then justice will reward you if you handle their unjust abuse well.
PROJECTION and JUDGMENT
The sub-headings for Statements and Questions are: Projection and Judgment.
PROJECTION is when a person concludes another person has a specific feeling or intent.
JUDGMENT is when a person reaches a conclusion related to the value of another person.
OHV: I feel like you don't like me.
Projection: You don't like me.
Judgment: You are a jerk because you don't like me.
Judgment: I feel like you are a jerk...
OHV: Do you like me?
Projection: Why don't you like me?
Judgment: Why are you such a jerk?
Questions are also the most confrontational way to give someone the opportunity to be excellent because you are requiring a response...usually under pressure or a time constraint. This is when you find out what is really inside a person.
Projection and Judgment are the two biggest sources of DAMAGE during Step Two. The damage can be completely avoided if the person would be contrastive.
1. Be WILLING to be open, honest and vulnerable.
(This all an EFFECT of a statement of your will.)
2. Be willing to accept that you may actually NOT want to be open. Then don't. You'll only hurt others.
(This is a contrastive approach to OHV in order to remove a contradiction...if you don't want to be, don't fake it because THAT isn't OHV.)
3. Be completely factual. Don't tell part facts and hold back on others that would have given a complete understanding.
(We addresses "open" in #2, so this addresses "honest".)
4. Don't project or assume something another person is saying. If you have a thought that is different than what the person is actually saying with their words, get clarification so you both understand what the person was saying.
(This is another "honest" guideline. I have known people who will actively look for something in my "emotions" in order to justify not listening to the words. Whether it was my inflection, body language, look, or tone...it is DAMAGING to project an intent on a person that contradicts their words. The right and just thing to do is ask a question and get clarification on "communication" that occurs apart from the meaning of the words. Take a moment and be excellent. Ask if that gesture where they put their hand to their cheek REALLY does mean they are mad at you INSTEAD of running with YOUR incorrect interpretation. When you do this, you open yourself up to justice. It is not worth it. Take the extra second an get clarification.)
5. Don't judge. Let the other person have the freedom to say or believe what they want. You can deal with each issue individually to help the person become more correct, but don't hinder them from putting it all on the table. Don't cut them off and put words in their mouth or project motives.
(This is another "honest" guideline that directly addresses the DAMAGE that can be done when people get impatient and unilaterally move to Step Three. Remember, Step Two involves being understood. Each person has to be given the time and the freedom to get everything out. You can't move to Step Three until both sides UNDERSTAND each other. If the other person hasn't completed Step Two and you move to Step Three, this is DAMAGING. This shows a lack of respect for the other person and an unwillingness to be OHV. If you do this, take the extra time to repair THIS DAMAGE...help them understand that you know you were wrong to do what you did.)
6. Always look to find what is incorrect in yourself.
(This begins the guidelines that cover "vulnerable". This is the contrastive principle that is MOST important for avoiding DAMAGE.)
7. Admit when you are wrong.
(This seems obvious, but people seem to have a way of doing this without saying, "I was wrong"...try it sometime, it is good for you.)
8. Actively try to change and not do the wrong anymore.
(Guideline #7 was confession and this one is repentance. These last three guidelines are the key to being "vulnerable".)
9. You can gauge yourself by watching if you say you believe something, do your actions prove it. If not, continue to work on the cause.
(This guideline focuses uses causality and growth to prevent being a hypocrite.)
10. People are willing to stay in an open, honest and vulnerable friendship if they realize the other person will be humble and change if they realize their wrong about something.
(Again, this is another guideline that looks LONG TERM and focuses on making friendships sustainable and growing. I know people who have a lot of "acquaintances" but very few "friends". How many friends do you have who you've known for more than 5 years? 10 years?)
11. Never hold anything over the other person. You can stay factual, such as reminding them that they said they would change their behavior and the current action seems like maybe they didn't. But, never use the information shared as a weapon.
(This is the QUICKEST way to shut down future exchanges! Don't use information you obtained when someone was OHV AGAINST that same person! The key word is "AGAINST"...this is like handing someone a gun and then they shoot you with the gun you provided to them. This is the BIGGEST CAUSE of DAMAGE and it comes from a conversation that had NOTHING to do with the CURRENT situation you are attempting to repair!)
12. Never charge them with a crime. Let it go. Forgive.
(This is the QUICKEST way to completely end a friendship. This is making a value judgment, showing a lack of acceptance and respect, and a lack of love. People know what they have done. They feel guilt whether they show it or not. If they confess a "crime" to you, you can agree. You can also ask questions about in order to get them to state their will WITHOUT charging them with a sin. But to unilaterally JUDGE them with a sin is selfish and very DAMAGING.)
The final way DAMAGE can be caused in Step Two concerns the motivation of the individuals. Are they pursing growth or comfort?
When Step Two is handled well, at least one of the people will realize they were wrong. The question is: Will they admit it? The reason they wouldn't admit it is they want to remain comfortable and APPEAR right. Their goal is NOT to repair, it is to maintain an image. If they attempt to maintain this image in the face of obvious facts they either come off unintelligent or prideful...neither of these are EXCELLENT. In fact, this exchange will result in them being seen as LESS EXCELLENT.
The quickest way to determine the motivation of a person is to see how they handle being right!
If they celebrate, they have the wrong motivation. They either didn't know they were right or they feel good BECAUSE you are wrong. Why are people happy when they are proven right? They didn't learn ANYTHING!
Why AREN'T people happy when they are proven wrong? After all, they have learned something, grown, and become more right. Is it because they are focused on APPEARANCE? Is it because their pride has been hurt?
The BOTTOM LINE on both of these responses is these people believe LACK OF SIN (ERROR) PROVES EXCELLENCE.
The Bible says WE ALL HAVE SIN.
The Bible says Jesus came so we might have the ability to repair and grow.
Even when we are EXCELLENT, what is God's response?
"Every branch that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." (John 15:2)
God cuts it back...
So it can grow...
So it can product MORE!
People who can't admit they are wrong CANNOT REPAIR!
People who can't handle admitting they are wrong with a great attitude ARE NOT EXCELLENT!
Be careful with ANYBODY (friends, relatives, spouses, religious leaders, etc) who can't admit they are wrong.
The Pharisees had the same problem...