Posted by Orrin Woodward on September 11, 2012
After nearly twenty years of working with people, building teams, and leading people, I have learned that there are many Biblical truths that can be applied daily. For instance, Romans 1:18 clearly explains why unrighteous people refuse to see the truths about themselves and their sinful condition. In the ESV version of the Bible, Romans 1:18 reads, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Paul wrote this epistle to explain why the people who see the truth of God all around them—systems designed beyond the capabilities of today’s best engineers, anthropic principles that if off by even the slightest amount would not have supported mankind, and proof (cosmological, teleological, and natural theology) that points toward a Creator—suppress and reject it. Interestingly, nearly 2,000 years ago, Paul, in apparent anticipation of today’s faithless age, captured the reason why people chronically suppress truth.
Certainly Paul’s statement was intended to reflect the suppression of the truth of God, but it has secondary applications as well. For example, even today’s secular leadership manuals teach the importance of “confronting reality,” the same principle Paul expounded above. Leaders have learned that people do not like dealing with uncomfortable truths of any size. Whether that truth is major (like the existence of God) or small (like miscommunication with a co-worker), people quickly suppress the truth, allowing themselves to be held blameless while the other party is held responsible for any issues. Consequently, most people never fulfill their leadership potential because they are too busy suppressing truth to learn from it.
Have you ever wondered why it is that people see others’ faults so clearly, yet seem to struggle to discover, or at least admit discovery of, their own? This is a big challenge. Even so, imagine what could change in a person’s life if he could see his own areas of needed improvement as easily as he sees others’. This is a HUGE part of the leadership journey and a HUGE part of a mentor’s role. I can promise you this: People who run around blaming everyone but themselves for their current predicaments are hopelessly self-deceived through the repeated suppression of truth. (Internet Haters come to mind. ) Thankfully, few people allow themselves to slide so far from truth; however, all of us veer from truth to some degree. Thus, one of the key leadership assignments is to identify and address areas where untruth has seeped into one’s thinking. In other words, a problem identified is half solved.
Mentoring matters because it helps people see their blind spots and begin working on them. I have been blessed with superb mentors over the years and have read many books that have helped me. With that said, my wife Laurie, who has developed the tact and courage to address her husband in love, has done the best job of pointing out where I might be suffering from suppression of truth at any given time. It is my assignment, as a leader confronted with truth, to view the situation without emotion and address the facts as they are, not as I want them to be. No one is perfect at this art, but with practice and courage, a person can grow and change. The Mental Fitness Challenge from the LIFE business is a personal mentoring program to improve one’s ability to deal with truth.
What about you? Are you dealing with uncomfortable truths in your life? Let me speak to the Christians reading this post for a moment. Christians need to understand that suppressing truth in any area of life is just another name for sin. That may sound strong, but please hear me out. Suppressing truth is really just a simpler way of saying that people would rather believe comfortable lies than difficult truths. Since the Bible states that all lies come from the “father of lies,” then suppressing truth makes one believe lies and, in that instance, a person has chosen to follow Satan, not God. This is a significant distinction that I believe would revolutionize the Christian church. The Christian church must repent from believing Satan’s lies in any area of life and begin to live and reflect God’s truths again.
Okay, okay, I will hop off my soapbox now. I just encourage each person to examine his thinking and identify where the suppression of truth may be hurting him. If you have mentors, then seek their help in the process. 2012 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for so many, and I encourage you to break through, too. Below is the inaugural HBRN Leadership Factory interview. Tony and I asked Claude Hamilton on as our special guest and we dove into the mentoring process. Enjoy.