A very wise woman and my previous boss once told me a great piece of advice for being a manager and one of the best life lessons I have ever received. She said:
If everyone was doing what you are doing, would it be okay?
She used the example of being late. If everyone in the store shows up 15 minutes late, is that okay? No. So, as managers, we had to set the example and show up on time or even early, because that’s what we wanted everyone else to be doing.
I like the way this advice is phrased because its self reflective. You aren’t judging what everyone else is doing, but rather turning it around and asking are you the one setting the example. And it applies to more than just managing a store. In fact, I have been using this question in a lot of areas of my life- especially regarding moral standards.
For example, gossip. If everyone, was talking about everyone else, would it be okay? Its easy to answer that question. It seems very black and white. It is. But it works.
In fact, its biblical. It’s basically just another way of saying, “Do to others what you would have them do to you,” isn’t it?
If every single person in the world was loving people unconditionally, would that be okay? Yes. More than okay.
If every person had patience with everyone else, would that be okay? Yes.
If everyone lived the way the Bible instructs us to live, would it be okay?
You could also ask that question like this:
If everyone served those in need, gave to those who were hungry, comforted those that were hurting, helped those who couldn’t help themselves, would it be okay?
Its a simple question and there is simple answer.
We often get angry at what the Bible teaches, because we read the teachings and then, we look around our world and see people who have read those words acting completely differently than what we have just read. Even as Christians, we often allow ourselves to live in a world of gray, making excuses for our actions, and then turning to the Bible for justification. We can spend all day twisting and interpreting Scripture to try and determine a justification for our actions, but we know. We know that it all comes down to this:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
And if everyone were doing that, would it be okay?