Every one of us who has a personal moral code will eventually be challenged by someone who either disagrees with our specific beliefs or who is angry that we have a personal code at all. In spite of the fact that living a life of integrity is a personal choice, lived out in a private way, others may demand that we give a public defense of our beliefs or actions. So, how do we handle those confrontations?
I sought advice for myself from our Human Resources (HR) office only once in my 40 year career. My supervisor had insisted on a private meeting in a setting and at a time that made me very uncomfortable. I had no clue what would happen at this meal and I was concerned. So I went to HR. Have no doubt that part of my plan was to ensure that the discussion with HR was on the record; I wanted to document my reluctance about the meeting and HR’s advice to me.
The meeting went worse than I had expected. Rather than discuss business matters, I was confronted about my personal moral beliefs. It was strange and difficult and uncomfortable. I tried to answer the questions in a calm and clear manner, but I kept getting interrupted by events around us. As I reflected on the meeting later, it was apparent that the discussion was harder on my supervisor than it was on me. They had dropped and broken their glasses on the way to the meeting; the food that they ordered was cold; and, the table that they had selected for our meeting had so much traffic around it that it felt like we were seated in the middle of an interstate highway. I left the meeting shaking my head; I was not sure what had been accomplished.
As you think about confrontations you have had or might have in the future, consider this amazing passage from the book of Isaiah (50:7-9). “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other! Who is my accuser? Let him confront me! It is the Sovereign Lord who helps me. Who will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment; the moths will eat them up.”
Hmmm…what does “set our face like flint” mean? To me, it means listening to our accuser. Our faces should show no anger. No fear. No sarcasm. No tears. No sad looks. No haughty looks. No rolling eyes.
When you are confronted for your beliefs, have your face set like flint.
We know who is our defender is.