Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 22; 1 Peter 3; Micah 1; Luke 10
I started a new job last month. One of the first tasks in my onboarding plan was to take a personality assessment. Pretty daunting, huh? For a fleeting second I wondered… will they rescind my job offer if they don’t like the results? Or worse yet, I’ve never taken this specific assessment, what if I don’t like the results? What if I’m not the person I think I am? I’m not really looking for an identity crisis right now… Good news. When our department’s expert shared my results, she led with this comment (and repeated it several times during the course of our discussion) – “Remember, there are no right or wrong answers.” Whew!
The name of this particular tool is called The Birkman Method. It is a personality assessment used to identify how a variety of different factors work together to motivate personal behavior. Like several assessments I’ve taken in the past, Birkman starts by identifying usual behavior – how I normally operate across a range of characteristics. It then goes on to identify needs – how I need people to interact with me in order for me to be my best. It also identifies how I react to stress – what behaviors I often display in situations when my needs aren’t being met (Birkman Fink and Capparell, 2013). These last two elements make this tool different from others I’ve taken before. Let me tell you, I’ve found Birkman pretty fascinating so far. I can run reports on myself, but I can also run reports comparing me to my boss, my direct reports, and anyone in our organization who has taken the assessment. What a great resource to help me understand how to adjust my behavior to better meet others’ needs, how to predict conflict and how to help manage sticky situations.
Our text in 1 Peter 3 is also about behaviors and how to interact with others. Peter wrote this book to Christfollowers who were suffering from abuse and persecution for believing in Jesus. A good part of chapters 2-4 are his instructions about how they should behave during difficult times. 1 Peter 3:8-9 identifies five key characteristics that should describe any group of Christfollowers.
- Unified – pursuing a common purpose
- Sympathetic – responsive to others’ needs
- Loving – treating each other as family
- Tender – sensitive and caring
- Humble – encouraging one another
Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it (1 Peter 3:8-9 – Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House).
God made us with different personalities on purpose. This diversity is what makes for rich relationships, though it is often the source of conflict and strife as we question the motives behind others’ behavior. The five characteristics Peter describes above are powerful. Why? Because they are focused on others, not on ourselves. Whether we are experiencing good times or difficult times, these five characteristics are the recipe for healthy interpersonal relationships and for a cohesive team.
For the scriptures say, if you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others (1 Peter 3:10-11 – Life Application Study Bible, Tyndale House).
I pray that each of us has the courage to work hard at living in peace with others. Regardless of personality, none of us can get there on our own. Will you get on your knees today and ask God for help? It won’t be easy, but it is definitely worth it.