Wherever you are a part of something bigger than yourself, you are part of a team. Most of us are a part of a team somewhere: in business or at work, in marriage or in a family unit, on a church or ministry team, as a volunteer or in politics or sports.
Yet in the day-to-day run of relationships, teams can get tangled. Personalities can begin to grate like sandpaper. Petty arguments can surface too easily. A team can sabotage itself with it’s own irritations.
When we come to the team table of marriage, or business, or community, we come with our list of strengths. Seldom do we talk about the fact that each of us will also come with our weaknesses thoroughly intact. Yet we seem surprised when weakness surfaces.
Very often our greatest weakness is simply our greatest strength out of balance. On a team, someone may be too controlling, or procrastinate too often. The wisdom of the Bible tells us that in relationships our general attitude should be one of restoring, or, as the original language implies, one of mending nets. It implies a joint effort of finding the holes and mending them.
This restoring process is talked about as something to expect, something we need not be surprised at, something to perhaps even plan for. Imagine sitting down with a new team and feeling the excitement of the task ahead. Imagine the wedding … or the vision-casting exercises as the future is looked at expectantly. Then imagine your surprise when the team leader begins to talk about the fact that each team member will have weaknesses, too. That you will irritate one another and that there may be holes in your skill sets or in the team. You begin to feel uncomfortable, afraid you might not measure up in some way. Then the leader continues and says, “We will have a restoring, or mending, mindset on this team. We will be proactive in taking steps to maintain our team and here’s how we will do it.”
Step 1: Accountability
Be accountable for what is going on inside you. Keep a check on your attitudes. As you become aware of another’s weakness, be careful not to begin seeing yourself as superior. Don’t play the comparison game. Guard your own heart and remain teachable yourself.
Step 2: Responsibility
Take responsibility for your own weaknesses. Never excuse your own weakness or “holes in the net” by saying, “that’s just the way I am, I can’t help it!” Be honest with yourself. Do what you need to do to take the responsibility that is yours. If you need help, gater up the courage to ask for it.
Step 3: Building up
Encourage each other. Polish up the good you find in one another. Share how you are growing and what you are learning. Work toward unity. If an issue remains that needs to be talked out, go to your teammate with the attitude of building up. Be open if someone comes to you about your weakness. If necessary, get a third party to mediate before a conflict escalates rather than after. Be proactive in guarding the relationships that are important to you and to the team.
Step 4: Choosing
It isn’t always comfortable to deal with another’s weaknesses in the right way… our own emotions often get caught in the middle. Neither is it always comfortable to look our own weaknesses square on. God invites us to choose his way in making the right relational choices. These decisions, made in the face of the sandpaper edge of irritation, will bring a result. You can help choose what kind of harvest you want on your team.
Step 5: Prayer
We will pray for each other. When you see an area of weakness or irritation in your teammate, talk first to God and not to the next teammate. When I see a weakness in you, and you see one in me, our first job will be to carry it to God in prayer. Weaknesses are the very entry point for God’s strength when we ask for it! We will offer grace to one another.
Step 6: Grace
When you see a weakness in a teammate, think about how best to approach them in a helpful, caring way that will allow the team to work together in a more cohesive manner. Weaknesses can be an entry point to help strengthen each other, which in turns strengthens the team.
Step 7: Blessing
Affirm one another as often as you have opportunity. Do good to each other, and speak well of one another. Look for opportunities to touch each other’s lives in a positive way.
True strength acknowledges weakness. It is all too often the little things that wear on us and become the source of eventual dispute or even demise. Take the opportunity to grow together as a team.
Look at your team positions both inside your home and outside in the busy world. Begin to practice God’s wisdom. Model it, share it, ask God to help you. He is the only one who can truly “mend the holes in any net”! This is true strength.