Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
In business, confidential information can be a valuable asset. Having negotiated many contracts over the course of my business career, I appreciate the need to avoid fully disclosing my (private and confidential) thoughts and, in particular, my “bottom line” objectives.
Of course, in the lead up to final negotiations, each party has typically communicated its high level position on the framework of an acceptable deal. As a result, negotiation of a final deal occurs within pre-established parameters. For each party, the primary goal then becomes to maximize its benefits within the set of “win win” alternatives. At such times, I am happy that the person on the other side of the table can’t read my mind!
On a personal level, Mary and I negotiated the price of new glasses at the optometrist’s office last week. They offered a discount and we accepted. Staring at the screen on my iPad as I write this, I am reminded that I really do need glasses. In fact, we had already decided we were purchasing glasses regardless of whether or not a discount was offered. Happily, they could not read our minds!
The foregoing examples illustrate the connection between confidential information and financial advantage. There is a darker side, however, regarding our private thoughts illustrated by the following thought experiment. Imagine that every moment of every day your every thought is displayed over the internet for all to see.
Contemplating this scenario, I confess to not being proud of every thought that goes through my head. If anyone ever, however briefly, thinks he or she is morally perfect, this thought experiment immediately bursts that balloon! This darker side of our nature can be a source of guilt and shame.
The Bible makes it very clear that God is all knowing. Thus, He actually knows our every thought – the good, the bad and (yes) the ugly. They might not be displayed on the internet but “private and confidential” is meaningless in the context of the God of the Bible, who always knows what we’re thinking.
What are we to do with this reality? For many in the West, one strategy is to deny the existence of God. However, denying something does not make it untrue. A better strategy is to consider Jesus’ solution to the guilt/shame dilemma.
In a nutshell, God’s solution was to send Jesus to live a morally perfect life and to pay the penalty we deserve by his sacrificial death. As a result, the guilt and shame associated with not only our deeds but also our thoughts has been dealt a death blow. This truth is captured succinctly in Paul’s letter to the fledgling church at Rome, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Here are two challenges. For those who belong to Jesus, are you still experiencing condemnation because of something you thought, said or did? If so, I encourage you to step fully into your inheritance as one who is no longer condemned. For those who have not trusted in Jesus, I encourage you to pursue truth as though your life depended upon it – because it does!
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.