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“This is slavery: To not speak one’s thoughts.” – Euripides

Have you noticed the topics that matter most are the ones we stray furthest from discussing?

We shy away from sharing about unrest in our family. We stay silent about mental illness. We keep our thoughts on deep seeded challenges to ourselves. We seldom convey how we are really doing with difficult work situations, how we really feel about moral issues and where we really stand on important issues facing our life today.

I realized last week that our neglect to discuss the real issues in our lives is rooted in our hypersensitive, politically correct societal norms. Let me explain.

I was on a call with my client who invited me to speak to her organization. We discussed how to craft our day together so that her team would leave ready to charge past current professional challenges, be unified and empowered to take on opportunities.

We had a wonderful dialogue. Before it ended, I asked if there were any topics to avoid during our time together. She responded, “Your faith and any other personal beliefs you may have.”

She went on to say “John, just be politically correct.”

My friends, I get the idea of being politically correct. I believe pontificating to others on personal matters is wrong. But, individually and organizationally, we absolutely become weaker when we can no longer share with others what makes us strong.

We become more divided when we are no longer free to celebrate how we are different. [Tweet that.]

We become less creative when we can no longer confidently share our thoughts and ideas with those around us without the constant fear offending.

Real freedom and an inclusive culture is not found in muffling people from proclaiming their faith, sexual orientation, political beliefs or view on business, leadership or life. Rather it is found when we empower others to share boldly, listen and learn from other experiences, discover shared beliefs, goals, and possibility and then advance forward together.

The calling of great leadership, the calling of each of our lives, is not to shy away from what matters most. Rather, it is to boldly, thoughtfully and lovingly share what matters most to us. We should articulate why we have certain beliefs, fears and dreams because they have been the fuel for the journey of our lives. And we should absolutely listen openly to others opinions and beliefs for they have shaped their journey, too.

“Political correctness” won’t unite us. It won’t fix racial tensions, alleviate economic disparities or lessen political differences. It won’t fix marriages, heal wounds, rekindle old relationships or allow your business to move forward in a new direction. Being politically correct keeps us from speaking. It does not help us grow closer to others; it does not help us become more informed; it does not unlock the possibility of tomorrow; it does not change our world.

Only love can do that.

What are the beliefs and truths that mean the most to you? The ones that have fueled your life’s path? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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0 replies on “Unchaining Possibility”

I will be using this as a leadership moment at a meeting within the healthcare system that I work. Perfect! Thank you John for your forever deep thinking blogs! I also want to thank you for reaching out to a serious burn patient that is a member of of my church and ministry. What you did for him reflects what was offered you through the love of many people that helped you. May God continue to bless your work and ministry!

I heard you speak to the group in Columbia on Monday and I just finished your parent’s book. I am inspired by your story and the love and support of the people around you. It makes my struggles seem small. I look forward to following your blog!

By John Douglas Francen

Moses had been on the mountain top in the very presence of God for forty days and forty nights. He returned with all the instructions that God had him to write down, as well as the commandments written in stone in God’s own hand! How overjoyed he must have been until he found out what the Children of Israel, whom God had chosen to be His own people, had been doing while Moses was gone. What he learned and saw made him so angry that he threw the stones, upon which God had written His laws, down and they broke in pieces! I am sure Moses was heartbroken, after all he had done for these people, after all the miracles God had shown them both before and after they left Egypt. Why they had taken part in the first passover where, by doing as God instructed through Moses and Aaron, the firstborn in all their homes was spared while death overtook all the firstborn in all the other homes in the nation of Egypt! They passed through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on each side where God had parted the sea. When they thought they were going to starve to death in the desert, God provided manna from heaven, and quails for them to eat. When they thought they would die of thirst, they saw God use Moses to strike a rock and bring forth water from the rock. How could these people forget so soon? And even his brother, Aaron, whom he had left in charge, betrayed both Moses and God and made the golden calves that the people wanted to worship, when they complained. “This guy, Moses, who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him!” As if a god of their own creation was going to solve their problem.

Moses calmed down, evidently forgiving the Children of Israel, and began to think! “God is going to be really angry with these people and we need a plan.” (Words from my imagination, not the Bible.) He went and stood in the gate at the camp and yelled out, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Exodus 32:26 “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” He needed to see what he had to work with. Exodus 32:30-35 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up before the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I will visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the Lord plagued the people, because of the calf, which Aaron made.

Sin has consequences and sometimes the damage cannot be repaired. Even if your nation turns from their wicked, sinful ways and returns to God, damage from their sinfulness will remain. Nevertheless, God has a plan for each nation, as well as each individual, just as He did for Israel! It is again time to cry out, loud and clear, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”

Generations later, after Jesus was tried, crucified, rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven, Israelites again had to commit to the call, “’Who is on the Lord’s side.” Many did not recognize Him as the Lord. Others were unwilling to depart from their traditions. Yet others wanted to straddle the fence, claiming Christ, but wanting to keep their traditions and even impose them on the new Gentile believers. There are still some of each group around today, not only in Israel, but throughout the world.

We have many today who worship religion, (tradition). Those who claim to be Christian people, but want to throw away the parts of the Bible that they do not like. Or re-write it to say what they want. They hire impressively educated pastors, many of whom like to be called “Reverend,” or “Doctor” as though this gives them more favor with God. Many of these are those mentioned in the Bible as being those who “tickle their ears.” They hire educated ministers of music and professional musicians capable of concert quality of entertainment. They build huge buildings and do all kinds of things to attract large numbers of members with little or no concern for leading people to the Lord.

I miss the little neighborhood churches that selected their pastor because of his calling rather than his education. In these Churches there was always someone who could play the piano or organ and someone who could “lead the singing.” We didn’t sing to entertain each other. We were blessed by singing unto our Lord! The messages of the songs ministered to the spiritual needs of the congregation. I saw God move in these churches and when they got too large for their building they would often build a “mission” in their own or a neighboring community. These missions would eventually become self supporting churches.

There have been many changes in the world in my 73 years, but there still stands the need to shout, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Joshua 24:15a & c “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose ye this day whom ye will serve:” “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” People today do not seem to be hearing what God’s word is saying! Matthew 6:24 ends with the statement, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon (the world.)” Where do you stand today? Are you on the Lord’s side?

Thanks for sharing, brother John! And what a great question, where do you stand today? Taking it into context of where do you want to stand tomorrow too… have a great day. J

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