Don't Shoot the
The messengers have
always believed this.
Have you ever been in this situation. You have to give someone some pretty bad news and you KNOW, they do not WANT to hear that bad news? Ouch...
Or how about this . . .
You are the one getting the bad news (or contradictory argument, or the refutation, or the challenge) that you really don't want to hear, you don't want to believe and you are not at all happy about getting it?
"Hey don't shoot me, I'm just the messenger."
My son is in an AP English course. Since I enjoy having conversations with him about the things he is learning, I try to read some of the books he is reading. One of them is the fourth century B.C. play by Sophocles - Antigone.
Well I never knew it, but this 24 centuries ANCIENT play is the source of our modern saying, "Don't shoot the messenger." Apparently human nature remains relatively unchanged through the long millenium march of time.
Antigone is about a king named Creon (i.e. a very bad leader) who hates getting bad news and reacts with abusive power to those who bring him the bad news.
It is about leaders who think they are all-knowing and always right.
It is the mindset of President Nixon, who said in his Watergate defense,"When the President does it, that means it is not illegal."
It is about a refusal (even an inability) to listen to counsel / council and to benefit from the insights and wisdom of others.
It is about an unwillingness to adapt, to change, to turn (repent).
It is about vindictiveness against those who would tell you what you don't want to hear.
There is a bit of Creon / Nixon / (old Adam) in all of us when it comes to hearing what we don't want to hear, in having our precious assumptions called into question, and to receiving bad news (that is often partly of our own making).
That is our great need. To have the darkness illumined and exposed and then infused with the light of truth.
- So how are you doing on this?
- What truths are you deliberately avoiding?
- Who do you invite to "speak truth in love" into your life?
- Has anyone said anything difficult and challenging to you lately?
- If not - "howcum?"
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
p.s. I wonder if Moses was thinking this when he came down from the mountain?