Tag Archives: human nature

You Can’t Hide What’s Inside


After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West.  The eastern side was under the communist control of the USSR.  The western side was occupied by British, French and American forces.  The capitol city of Berlin was divided in a similar fashion.

Between the years of 1949 and 1961, at least 2.7 million people fled East Germany, more half of them through West Berlin.  In an attempt to stop the depletion of its labor force, East German officials ordered the building of a barrier that would one day become known as the infamous “Berlin Wall.”

As the initial barricades were going up, East Berliners were feeling powerless and resentful of West Berlin’s freedom.  In an act of antagonism, they filled a garbage truck and drove it into West Berlin late one night.  They dumped the trash all over the streets and then retreated back to East Berlin on foot.  A few days later, the truck returned under cover of darkness.  But instead of the filthy garbage that the East Berliners expected to see in it, it was full of canned goods and non-perishable food items.  On the food was a sign that read “Each gives what he has to give.”

Times of great pressure and stress tend to have a polarizing effect on people.  They bring out both the very best and the very worst of human nature.  In the same difficult circumstance, some will focus on helping others and some will focus only on themselves.  Both are responding to what is hidden deep in their character.  The trial simply brings what is hidden to the surface, to where it can be seen in our words and our actions.

Jesus once said, “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  (Luke 6:34-45)

The Apostle Paul later tells us that Christians have a war going on in their hearts and minds.  The Holy Spirit fights on our behalf against our sinful nature.  If we submit to the Spirit and deny our sinful nature, our “tree” (our life) will bear good fruit, fruit that will last – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5)

It was this fruit that enabled the West Berliners to send love instead of hate back across that border.  It was this fruit that kept them from retaliating or escalating the conflict.  It was this fruit that made them understand the hurt and the fear behind what the East Berliners did.

If you get an opportunity to swap fruit this week, remember the good fruit of the West Berliners, and do you best to bless even when you are cursed.

(S – original story from Ron Hutchcraft Ministries)

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Filed under Abundance, agape love, character, christianity, forgiveness, heart, Scarcity, unconditional love

Reset the Zero


Believe it or not, heating water from -1/2OC to +1/2 OC (1 degree) requires 80 times the energy that is required to heat water from +1 OC to +2 OC (1 degree).  Why so much difference?  It’s because changing ice to water (-1/2OC to +1/2 OC) requires a change in state.  When water changes state (from ice to liquid water or from liquid water to steam), all the energy (80 calories) goes into the state change.  None goes into heating the water.

When heating water, it takes 80 times the energy to go from a negative to a positive.  It’s not much different when you are working with people.  For example, consider a scale that ranges from -5 to +5 and measures influencing skills.  If you are coaching someone who feels he is a “-3” on the scale, he’s saying that he feels like he has none of the skill.  He’s so bad at it, that he’s in the negative range.

reset-the-zero-1To coach him to the point that he feels he is on the positive side of the scale is going to require enormous amounts of energy on his part and yours.  He will actually have to go through a “change in state” – from someone who has no influencing skills to someone who has some.  That’s a mental leap across a wide chasm.

But what if you could show him that he already had some of the skill?  (as he most certainly does)  What if your reminded him that he already uses influencing skills when he’s talking to his peers about a common project or when he comes to you to ask for a better assignment.  Then, he doesn’t need a change in state.  He just needs to increase what he’s already got.

With water, once you change from ice to liquid water, all the hard work is done.  It only requires one calorie per degree to heat the water.  With people, the hard work is convincing them that they aren’t working from a state of lack.  They already have all the skills they need; they just need to increase them.  In effect, what you are doing is resetting the zero on their mental scale.  The same amount of influencing skills expressed this way would look like the scale below:

reset-the-zero-2

A +2 in the skill is much easier to build on than a -3.  Now, he’s got something to work with.  There’s an influencing skill muscle in there – he just needs to exercise it to make it stronger.

I frequently hear people make statements of lack such as, “I can’t speak in front of people;” “I can’t ever remember names;” “I’m not a people person;” “I don’t have any leadership ability.”  Statements like these allow people to abdicate responsibility for trying to develop these skills.  After all, if you don’t even have the raw materials for the skill, it’s not possible to ever have it.

Show them how they already have some of the skill, and you help them make a huge paradigm shift.  Instead of “strengths and weaknesses,” they start thinking in “greater and lesser strengths.”  Help them to reset their zero, and their eyes will be open to their potential.

(S – http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/heat_ice_steam.htm)

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Filed under Abundance, accountability, blame, Change, comfort zone, expectations, growth, mentoring, motivation, overcoming obstacles, paradigm shift, parenting, self-image