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June 13, 1992

The Art of War

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I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war. PSALM 120:7
Most, if not all, wars are fought over conflicting and deeply held ideologies and philosophies about life, religion, economics, and so on. The inability to reach an understanding or come to terms can escalate any situation from a disagreement to a full-blown conflict, whether it is geopolitics or office politics.
We live in the age of information, and most of it is incomplete or inaccurate. If we are going to survive and thrive in the marketplace, we must cultivate two key skills: communication and discernment.
The ability to communicate is so valuable (and rare) that one employer recently confessed to hiring more college grads who had majored in English than in business simply because they could communicate clearly. Words matter. Each one is laden with meaning and context. We must choose them wisely—with discernment.
Discernment is equally important in speaking and listening. We must know to whom we are talking and gauge what, when, and how much to tell a person. There is a fine line to walk between withholding information and telling too much, especially in communications about other people. If we live among those who hate peace, we must be especially discerning. You cannot retract words. And starting a war at work damages your credibility for the kingdom.
Be wise in your responses as well. The psalmist constantly runs to the Lord for defense and action against the slander of others. If you intend to defend yourself and right every wrong communication about yourself, be prepared for a full-time job. People will say harmful and untrue things to you and about you at work. But a right and discerning heart is able to forgive the offense and let God take care of the defense.

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