Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
– John 14:5-6
“Some who notice the title of this book – More Jesus, Less Religion – might take offense at our focus on ‘more Jesus.’ They might say, ‘How can this book be about healthy faith if you’re saying there’s only one way to God? After all, doesn’t spirituality in America these days embrace all faiths?’ They would be disturbed that two guys like us would narrowly define ‘healthy faith’ with the claim that Jesus is the only way to the true and living God. … “
“These are the days of tolerance and diversity in all things – and religion in particular.”
– Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton, More Jesus, Less Religion
A couple of days ago, I mentioned that taking care of our own sin and loving others also takes care of prejudice, intolerance, etc. Please don’t think that this is a retraction. There is bad intolerance toward anything than your personal views or way of life, but when it comes to salvation, Jesus planted His feet firmly in the statement above. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Any argument to the contrary is not going to enter my mind. And besides, should we tolerate sin in our lives?
In my working career, I have had many different bosses, worked for many different companies, and have had many different schemes to record the efficiency reviews. Trust me, I will get to tolerance, or the lack thereof.
May I say that efficiency reviews, in and of themselves, are the worst use of paper and ink that has ever been conceived.
Ah, now that the previous statement is off my chest, I feel better.
Why did I say that? The efficiency review should be done each day. Not documented every day, but the relationship of a boss and employee cannot improve by a once per year get together. With the boss involved in this following story, it was almost all the words spoken between the two of us that entire year. I initiated conversation. He killed conversation with a Neanderthal grunt or a one-word answer. Others in the group did not try as hard as I did. They settled on not hearing him speak at all. It was safer and a lot less effort. But get him angry and he started talking, very loud.
The best efficiency report system I ever took part in overlapped working with my least communicative boss. The form was about eight pages long, but each page had its own purpose, a lot of repetition. There were two pages that the employee filled out to express his understanding of his strengths, weaknesses, personal goals, his job description, etc. Some of the information was used by upper management to compare what the boss had for these answers versus the employee – did the employee know what the boss was saying type thing. The rest was to determine such things as motivations, etc. The boss had two similar pages.
Then there were four sheets of personality traits. One was to be filled out by the employee, one by the boss, and two by the employee’s peers. You checked some areas as strengths, others as weaknesses. A numerical value was applied to ‘cooperation’. This gave upper management people, if they really were smart enough to analyze the data, information about how this person works with others, how this person perceives himself versus how others perceive him, etc. Frankly, I doubt if they were ever analyzed, but the thought was built into the forms.
One of those personality traits was “Tolerance”. I always checked that as being an area of weakness.
After several years of checking the box, the boss finally noticed. He asked, “Why did you check this box this year?” (Wow! The pain in my tongue from biting it was unbelievable. I bit my tongue to prevent me from asking why he had not noticed the previous years. For that, I am proud of myself, but it hurt.)
While I was shivering from the pain, he continued, “You work well with the Hindu, Muslim, and atheists in the building. You have never had a problem dealing with customers, treating them with the utmost of respect. In that behavior, I would say that you are the only one in this company that can check that box as a strength. We have all lost it with one customer or another, but not you. Why check the box?”
He asked, so now I had full right to give him my answer, right? I said, “I am a Christian. Jesus said it Himself. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Jesus. It is my belief. It is my reason for living. It is why I show love for all of those you mentioned, both fellow employees and customers. I am totally intolerant on this subject. All who think there are other ways to Heaven will go to Hell. I do not wish them there. In my belief, it is simply fact. Also, I would not be the Training Manager of this company if I had any tolerance for ignorance. When I see it in others, I work to stamp it out. I try to understand the customer so that I can alleviate them of their ignorance. Now ‘stupid’? That is another thing entirely.”
(What I was thinking, at that precise point in time, was that I could add stupid bosses who had no clue how to manage other people to the top of my intolerance list, but I bit my tongue again to stop talking.)
He replied, “I did not understand a thing you just said. I am going to scratch through what you put on your form.”
I should have kept biting, but I said, “Let me see? You can write anything you want on your form, but you choose to falsify my form, an official company document, a firing offense? I would prefer my answers to stand as written, especially when the company president has reviewed and approved the document. Those are his initials, are they not?”
He blinked twice. That was the sign that he had just hit the reset button of his cyborg brain. (I am not the one who claimed he had a cyborg brain, honest!) He scratched through my answers on the form anyway, eliminating all my self-acclaimed weaknesses, then showed me the page that had my pay raise printed on it. The efficiency report and performance review was now over. Nothing else was said. Nothing about efficiency, nothing about performance, nothing about his ideas for my goals versus what I dreamed up. There was always a gap after rebooting the cyborg brain before he could talk again. So, I quietly left his office.
And to think, he was my boss for about one third of my working life. It’s interesting how God throws challenges in your path.
I offer this as a paradox. Some forms of intolerance are bad. Some forms of intolerance, intolerance toward sin in our lives being number one on the list, are a good thing. We must never be satisfied until we have demolished all the sin in our lives, through God’s strength. And we must never compromise our faith in Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.