Two nights before the ZITF started, we were working on a stand inside Hall 4 opposite the Econet Stand. They must have easily had 50 – 60 contractors doing carpentry, mounting trusses, painting and doing electrical work. Needless to say, it was very messy. This created a lot of dust and dirt on our stand and there was not much we could do about it. This got me thinking about how other peoples behaviour affects us.
We had finished mounting all the signs and arranging all the furniture on the stand and had to sweep up all the dust on the floor and wipe all the vinyl because of the dust that had been created by our neighbours. The following morning, more cleaning was needed. The table and chairs were dusty and the floor needed mopping. And it was constant battle until the work across from us was complete.
People are very sensitive about being told they need to change. “I haven’t done anything wrong” they will say. In most cases, they haven’t done anything wrong, but the dust from those around them settles on them and they need to clean themselves of that filth. Whether we like it or not, the world we live in is saturated with filth and we need to constantly be cleaning ourselves.
We don’t like it when others point out our faults. Who does? As we were working, I could see that the dust was affecting us, so I approached them and carefully pointed out that we were their neighbours and the dust was affecting our side. The man was very apologetic and arranged for his guys to start cleaning up.
I could have shouted and made my point clear that what they were doing was wrong, and how dirty our stand was getting because of them, but that was just going to create resentment. A calm and clear explanation was all that was necessary, followed by a hearty thank you, appreciating his help.
On, the other side, when our client arrived the day before, they noticed the stand was dusty, we too could have gotten overly sensitive and blamed our neighbours and indicated that it was not our fault. The truth was, it was dirty, nevermind who caused the problem. We did explain where the dust was coming from and that the stand would need to keep being cleaning until our neighbours they finished working which the client understood.
Proverbs 21:2 ‘Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. Could it be that we think our stand (our life) is clean and it really isn’t as clean as we think? Could we have left it clean yesterday, only to find that is more dirt today. Could it be that we were not the cause of the filth, but filth still messed us? How do we respond when pointed out that we need to clean up?
The answer I believe lies in Proverbs 15 vs 1-2. “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly
When our wrongs are gently pointed out to us, it is easier to accept. Harshness stirs up anger and resentment. Nobody likes to be humiliated and if we use our tongues wisely, we can point out the problem without causing an issue. Likewise, when we are on the receiving end, it is possible that we could be wrong even if we didn’t do anything wrong. Simply by being in a dusty environment, caused our cleanliness to be compromised.
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you.” – Romans 12:3