My Dad looked at the freshly painted room. “Did you use a broom to paint?” Though his observation was serious, we laughed.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23 NLT)
No, the teenage boy used a roller, but was more concerned about hurrying to get the job done and play baseball, than do it right. So, with a paintbrush, roller, and a new can of paint, he repainted the room.
My Dad was all about building character. “If you’re going to do something, do it with excellence.” He spoke those words to me more times than I can count. At his memorial service, my brother and I quoted them in our tributes. I admit as a child and teenager, I was often annoyed by the admonition. Since then, I have come to appreciate his counsel-not only personally but seeing how the effects of failing to embrace his wisdom causes damage.
Hanging wallpaper (now making a decorating comeback, I hear) without a level and a plumb line is disastrous. The goal, a desire for adding aesthetics to a room, changes beauty into an eyesore. As in painting a room, doing it hastily results in additional work and cost.
In interpersonal conflicts, verbal attacks and a desire to be right, can damage relationships that may take months or years to repair, if at all. Though addressing conflict is the right thing, approaching it in wrong way sometimes damages the relationship even more. Like a bull in a china shop, failure to implement the pause principle, increases ill-will rather than move toward resolution.
Pushing a committee to embrace an idea or moving an organization that isn’t ready for it due to limited manpower, maturity, or skills, often results in disharmony and moving two steps backward.
Addressing delicate situations requires thought, prayer, and careful word selection, but minimizing any of those causes hurts and even resentment.
Timothy Keller reminds us, “Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.
When two neighbors go to court instead of choosing mediation, a tense relationship is the result with little satisfaction in the outcome.
Whatever you do: communication, developing relationships, and skills on the job or off, do it with excellence. My Dad had a lot of wisdom…and integrity.
Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NLT)