[anzac] "TRUTH-TELLERS" - their value to us all

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 00:55:33 -0500
 
"Honoring the Truth-Teller" 
-by Dr. Roger W. Sapp. 

Prior to 1993, I was an active duty Army Chaplain. During that  
season in my life, I taught leadership skills to officers and non
commissioned officers in leadership retreats as a part of my  
ministry.  I often used management games to teach these  
leaders about leadership.  In one management game called  
"Powerplay", a scenario is created where these leaders were  
arbitrarily divided into groups by virtue of winning in a trading  
scenario.  The winning group is then given authority over the  
other groups. The winning group is given the right to make  
the rules for future trading and to dictate these rules to the  
other groups. Without exception, the group that has the  
authority always begins to make rules to keep its authority  
and to benefit it as a group in trading.  Given enough time  
the winning group will begin to clearly abuse the other groups.   
This group will justify its behavior on the basis of winning the  
earlier portion of the game and by virtue of having the authority.    

Reactions of Different Abused Groups: 

In those retreats where non-commissioned officers (sergeants)  
were involved, the sergeants would allow themselves to be  
abused.  Their overriding value was loyalty to the authority no  
matter what transpired or how unfairly they were treated. They  
were unhappy and grumbled among themselves during the  
abuse but did not do anything productive to deal with it.  They  
offered no feedback, no confrontation, and no truth from their  
perspective to the abusive group of sergeants. This was  
characteristic of nearly all the sergeants that I played this  
game with.  This revealed that their values were highly loyal  
but truthfulness was weak as a value. (Of course, there were  
a few exceptional sergeants that would have been better  
officers by nature.)   

The reactions of the officers in the officer leadership retreats  
were entirely different.  As the group of officers who abused  
them became more abusive, the officers became increasingly  
active and alert to their responsibility to deal with the unfair  
situation.  They offered feedback that was largely ignored.   
They devised strikes; in other words, they withdrew and would  
not cooperate with the abusive authority.  They often tried to  
continue to confront the abusive group.  They tried to negotiate  
a more just situation. 

In nearly all cases, the group in authority would become  
increasingly authoritarian and created more rules strictly for  
their own benefit and to keep the rebels in line.  The abusive  
group would often say that the other officer groups were not  
playing fair when they rebelled, withdrew or failed to cooperate.   
In other words, the group with the authority became blind to  
their abuse and blamed the abused groups for withdrawing  
and not wanting to play the game anymore.  

Not Valuing Truth Results in Blindness: 

Blindness is characteristic of organizations and leaders that  
do not value truthfulness in their relationships.  This is because  
truth telling has been stifled in a loyalty-based organizations or  
individuals.  Because there is no honest feedback, they will  
often be blind to their abusive behavior and honestly wonder  
why others are reacting.  There will be no-one to tell them that  
it is wrong to shift the blame for difficulties in the relationships  
to the victims of their abusive behavior. 

The value of truth is what keeps a local church or any  
organization from becoming like a cult.  Honoring the truth-teller  
is a characteristic of godly relationships.  Dishonoring the truth- 
teller is a characteristic of cults. Cultic behavior, which always  
includes blindness, will result from an overemphasis of loyalty  
above the truth. Leaders must understand that their own desire  
for loyalty may overcome truthfulness in their subordinates.   
They must actively cultivate truthfulness along with loyalty. 

This game also revealed that different kinds of people have  
different values and expectations.  Commissioned Officers are  
taught in the military that proper submission means that they  
will speak to the superior officer with courage and candor  
(truthfulness) about organizational problems.  Officers who will  
not confront their commander when necessary are poor excuses  
for leaders. Commanders who will not hear the honest, truthful  
input of their subordinates without penalty are poor commanders. 

The officer type of leader expects to be treated well by other  
leaders.  He expects his input to be valued and genuinely  
considered. The officer type of leader will want to fix the  
organization's larger problems and will not ordinarily be silent  
about them. If the organizational values lean too far to loyalty  
and not enough on truthfulness, this type of leader will often  
be seen as not being a team player and be penalized by being  
privately labeled as such.  As a result the organization may  
lose this valuable leader. 
  
The sergeant type of leader will remain loyal to a fault.  He will  
adjust to the  problems and not necessarily ever speak  
truthfully to the organization. There is nothing wrong with this  
type of person; in fact, they are greatly needed in all  
organizations.  However, in unhealthy organizations, the 
sergeant type of leader is valued above the officer type of leader.   
The officer type of person can help an organization to deal with  
its problems and therefore grow.  If an organization creates an  
atmosphere for genuine honesty and truthfulness, it will attract  
many of the officer types of persons and will be able to keep  
them.  It will not lose its sergeant types either.  In fact, the  
sergeant type of leader will be much happier since problems 
will be dealt with.  

When Loyalty Overcomes Truthfulness: 

Loyalty and truthfulness are two covenant values that must be  
held in tension against one another.  Loyalty binds us together.   
The truth sets us free.  If one value is emphasized over the  
other, then serious problems develop and both values will  
become distorted.  If loyalty is overemphasized, then only 
affirmation will be given and heard as feedback.  If truth telling  
is practiced without love and without loyalty, it does not build  
but tears down. If truthfulness is considered a fundamental  
component of loyalty, then the organization will be built on  
integrity.  If loyalty is considered a fundamental component of  
truthfulness, then the organization will have true unity. 

Often in an organization, whether it is the local church, a  
business, a denomination, or a fellowship of churches, loyalty  
becomes the overriding value and begins to overcome  
truthfulness.  This is often revealed in private words, actions  
and attitudes rather than the official position of the organization.   
The leaders of an organization may say that they value 
truthfulness but reveal in their actions that this is not really so.   
There are several predictable results when this happens: 

Truth-Tellers are Unappreciated.   

Individuals who strongly value honesty and truthfulness are  
unappreciated, and often rejected as disloyal.  Some people are  
particularly oriented to truthfulness and may be seen as not  
being team players by those who highly value loyalty.   This may  
create a value conflict in the organization between the truth- 
tellers and those who highly prize loyalty.  The loyalty value 
normally wins over truthfulness in these kinds of situations  
because those in authority will often value loyalty over truthfulness.   

When the loyalty value wins over truth, it often takes the form of  
a suppression of free expression, particularly dissent.  This does  
not make the elements of truth in dissent go away; truth will  
surface again and again in different, even more destructive forms,  
until it is dealt with properly.  This is precisely why political tyrants  
are unable to completely silence free expression and why they  
feel the need to silence it.  The truth will find a way to express  
itself simply because it is the truth and God stands behind it. 

Every time loyalty wins over truthfulness, loyal individuals are 
unintentionally trained by the leadership to hide the truth or to  
put an organizational spin on it.  Truthful individuals are trained  
that they are not really welcome.  Perceptions are created that  
success and promotion in the organization comes by telling the  
leadership what they want to hear rather than the truth.  Loyal  
yes men can seem to become valued over those who have 
strong individual integrity and truthfulness. 

Sincere Relationships in the Church:
 
The concept of sincerity may be the best blend of the values of  
loyalty and truthfulness.  A sincere person is a person who out 
of loyalty to God and others speaks the truth without mixture.  
The word sincere comes from the Latin word sincerus. It literally 
means without wax.  This word comes from the time when the 
Romans were building great buildings using marble columns 
to support the weight of these monumental buildings.  The 
builders would go  to the marble cutters in the quarries and 
inspect the columns. The cutters would put wax in the cracks 
of columns to make them deceptively appear to be solid in 
order to sell them.  The builders could only use the sincere 
columns to build with.  The columns that were what they 
appeared to be, that were actually solid, without wax hiding 
cracks, were the only thing that would sustain the weight of 
the building.  If a builder built a building using a column that 
lacked sincerity, the entire building could fall down.  The 
parallels are evident. The Spirit of Truth needs sincere people 
to build the Church; people that value loyalty and truthfulness 
in harmony with each other.