被尊崇的危險

By Robert J. Tamasy

誰是你的英雄,是你高度欽佩,是你想要效法的對象?

我們都有尊崇的人,他們在個人或專業上的行為和表現做了好的榜樣。我們的英雄只有一個問題:和我們一樣,他們也是人,有時也會犯錯,那些錯誤從簡單的判斷錯誤到重大的違法事件都有可能。當他們犯錯時,我們覺得失望、甚至覺得他們背叛了我們,因為他們沒有活出我們對他們的高度期待。

最近一位產業上的傑出領袖就犯了錯--他做了一些不好的決定,大家都知道他的失敗,他原本正直且高道德的聲望受到相當的損害。當事件被揭露時,身為他的欽佩者,我也與其他許多人一樣覺得驚訝且不安。但在實際生活中,沒有人應該被突擊檢查。這人一直沒有顯示出會有不名譽之事的可能性,但遲早我們都可能失敗--即使我們努力按照我們所持守的價值觀生活。

我認為聖經是工商專業界最棒的操作手冊。聖經清楚地說:「因為世人都犯了罪,虧缺了神的榮耀」(羅馬書3章23節。)「罪」的字面意思是「沒有射中標的」。這節經文就是說世人都沒有達到上帝的完美、堅定的標準。我從未遇見一個那麼完美的人。你有嗎?當然沒有。所以這麼一來,毫無疑問,我們都符合「犯罪」的定義。

那是否意味著我們應該假裝沒看到、忽略、或甚至寬恕錯誤的行為?不。位居領導位置的人應該了解他們被人用高標準和高期待(比他們所領導之人的標準還高)去評斷,因為他們的責任之一就是要成為值得效法的榜樣。

然而,期待--甚至要求--他們完美不僅不合理,也不切實際。幾乎在我們開始尊崇我們的英雄時,我們就應該開始預料他們會從高處跌落下來。以下是聖經所提供如何面對別人和我們自己失敗的一些原則:

不要急著論斷別人。當某人做錯的事被發現,我們常常急著譴責那人是騙子,或更糟的字眼。我們的評斷可能正確,但我們也需要承認若我們在那情況中,我們可能也會犯同樣的錯。「你們不要論斷人,免得你們被論斷。因為你們怎樣論斷人,也必怎樣被論斷;你們用什麼量器量給人,也必用什麼量器量給你們」(馬太福音7章1-2節)。

要確實地好好檢視你自己。有人說我們最喜歡批評那些反映出我們自己缺點和弱點的人。在譴責別人之前,要確定你自己沒有隱而未現的罪。「為什麼看見你弟兄眼中有刺,卻不想自己眼中有梁木呢﹖…先去掉自己眼中的梁木,然後才能看得清楚,去掉你弟兄眼中的刺」(馬太福音7章3-5節)。

要謹慎,不要低估你犯錯的可能性。幾年前,一位知名的領袖說在他生活中他最不可能跌倒的領域是婚姻關係。結果在一年內,這位已婚的男人與一位行政助理有婚外情。「所以,自己以為站得穩的,須要謹慎,免得跌倒」(哥林多前書10章12節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的交通部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com 。

思想 / 討論題目
請回答本文一開始的問題,誰是你的「英雄」?為何你把這些人放在如此崇高的位置?他們有什麼特性使你有好的印象? 你曾否經歷過你的任何一位英雄(某位你長期欽佩的人)失敗了而使你失望?可能他們甚至做了某件傷害你的事。你當時有何感覺?現在的感覺又如何? 我們所有人--即使我們高度尊崇和期待的人--都「只是人」,一定會遭遇失敗並犯錯,不論有意或無意。提醒這一點是否有幫助?為什麼? 當我們批評別人的錯誤與缺點時,你是否認為我們也應誠實地面對我們的缺失?換句話說,你是否認為我們應該按照我們要求別人的標準誠實地評定自己?請解釋。註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
詩篇53篇1-3節;箴言10章17節,13章18節,14章12節,15章22節,19章20節;以賽亞書64章5-7節;羅馬書3章10-12節


PITFALLS OF BEING PLACED ON A “PEDESTAL”

By Robert J. Tamasy

Who are your heroes – those people whom you admire greatly, individuals you would like to emulate?

We all have people we hold in high esteem, men and women who “set the bar” in terms of high levels of personal and professional behavior and performance. There is only one problem with our heroes: Like us, they are human and sometimes make mistakes, ranging from simple misjudgments to major violations and offenses. When that happens, we feel disappointed, even betrayed, because they have failed to live up to our lofty expectations.

Recently a prominent leader in his industry did just that – he made some poor decisions, his failures became public, and his reputation as a man of integrity and strong ethical principles has suffered considerable damage. Being one of his admirers, I was among the many who felt both surprise and dismay at the revelations. But in reality, no one should have been caught off guard. This man had not shown any likelihood of falling into public disgrace, but sooner or later, we all are going to fail – even in living up to our own dearly held values.

The Bible, which I regard as the greatest manual ever compiled for the business and professional world, makes this very clear: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The term “sin” literally means, “to miss the mark.” The context of this biblical passage refers to missing the mark of God”s perfect and unwavering standard. I have never met a person that is perfect. Have you? Of course not. So in that sense, without any question, we all fit the description of having “sinned.”

Does that mean we should overlook, ignore, or even condone wrong behavior? No. People holding positions of leadership should understand they will be judged according to high standards and expectations – even higher than those they lead, because part of their responsibility is to serve as examples worthy of being followed.

However, to expect – even demand – perfection from them is not only unreasonable; it is also unrealistic. Almost as soon as we place our heroes on pedestals, we should start anticipating their fall from those elevated perches. Here are some principles the Bible offers for dealing with the failures of others – and our own:

Be slow to pass judgment on others. When someone”s wrongdoing is discovered, we often are quick to denounce that person as a fraud, or worse. We might be accurate, but we also need to admit that given the right circumstances, we could be equally guilty of wrong. “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Be certain to take a good look at yourself. It has been said that we tend to be most critical of those who reflect our own shortcomings and areas of weakness. Before condemning others, make certain you have no hidden sins of your own. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother”s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?…first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother”s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5).

Be cautious not to minimize your own vulnerabilities. Years ago, a well-known leader stated the one area in which he knew he would never stumble was in relationships. Within a year, it was revealed that this married man had been involved in an extramarital affair with an administrative assistant. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist for 40 years, he is the author of Tufting Legacies; Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
To answer the opening question, who are your “heroes”? Why do you hold these people in such high regard? What are specific characteristics or traits about them that have particularly impressed you? Have you ever had the sad experience of having any of your heroes – someone you have long admired – disappoint you with their failures? Perhaps they even did something that hurt you personally in some way. How did you feel about that – and how do you feel about them now? Does it help to be reminded that we all – even people we tend to put on pedestals of high honor and expectation – are “merely human” and are bound to encounter failure and commit wrongdoing, whether intentional or unintentional? Why or why not? When we are being critical of the mistakes and shortcomings of others, do you think it is relevant to be honest about our own failings? In other words, do you believe we should honestly evaluate ourselves according to the standards we set for others? Explain your answer.NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Psalm 53:1-3; Proverbs 10:17, 13:18, 14:12, 15:22, 19:20; Isaiah 64:5-7; Romans 3:10-12

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