Fans of Major League Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers received some disappointing news on Monday. 2011 league MVP, Left Fielder, Ryan Braun, was suspended for the remainder of the season for breaking league rules prohibiting the use of performance enhancing drugs. Identified earlier this year on a patient list of Anthony Bosch, provider of these banned substances, Braun had only recently recovered from an early season thumb injury. Now that thumb will have much longer to heal.
In the Milwaukee area, the mood of fans swung between disappointed and downright enraged. And the severity of the reaction hinged largely upon people’s visceral response to the lack of honesty. More than once, Braun emphatically denied having used PEDs and even appealed his test results from October 2011, blaming the test collector for faulty procedure. In his statement upon accepting the League’s suspension, Braun’s apology-light provided barely enough to earn the forgiveness of all those continuing to buy tickets, willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
As one person close to me raged about how a person could look into a camera and swear they hadn’t used drugs when they had, an interesting conversation was birthed over honesty. I explained that I am willing to forgive much else, but I will not stand for lying. Honesty is a core value that is one of my “hills to die on.”
How are you doing on that as a leader? Do you conduct yourself with honesty and integrity as you deal with ministry colleagues, team members, and volunteers? How others perceive and respect you depends on your candor.
Yesterday, I had someone confess to me that they found a person no longer on my team to be egotistical, abrasive, and difficult to work with. I expressed to the person that others had revealed similar feelings once he had broken his affiliation with our ministry. How I wish those people would have shared their honest discomfort with him before we had worked so closely with him! Even so, when I told my team members that I would appreciate their immediate honesty the next time they feel such concern, I hopefully developed a new pathway to uninhibited truthfulness in the future.
Reputations rise and fall on honesty. Especially when you are putting yourself out there as a representative of Christ, be mindful of how you handle this virtue both yourself and in your organization. Remember what God tells us in Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted,but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (NIV) Better to risk discomfort with truth than to have your team kicking you out of the locker room!
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