This is Part 2 of a reflection on Romans 8:28 All things work together for good to them who love God to them who are called according to His purposes. Yesterday we discussed how changing Romans 8:28 from “All things work together for good” to “All words work together for good,” we are able to concentrate on our speech as either a builder or a destroyer. For those who love God and are called according to His purpose He promises our words will always work together for good. Yesterday we discussed how this can happen even if we are the in the wrong. Today, I want to look at how our words work for good if we are the one being wronged and are getting pounced upon through no fault of our own.
My example comes from John H. Tyson, former CEO and chairman of Tyson Foods, perhaps best know for Tyson chicken, who runs a faith-based food conglomerate and employs more than 120,000 people across the United States and Mexico. His philosophy is to honor God, honor the world God made, earn consistent profits for shareholders, and to be respectful of others. Tyson does not have “employees,” they have “team members” and the charter of the business places mutual respect, regardless of position in the company, at the center of the business. It was unconceivable to John that his workers would rise up against him or that his workforce would set out to ruin him, but in 1999 the Association of Trial Lawyers accused John of hiring illegal aliens at cut rates for the express purpose of lowering the wages of indigenous workers. Tyson Foods was ultimately acquitted, but some of John’s own people fell to the temptation for the promise of great riches through a class action suit. “Bad press” from media attention was enough that the company eventually went bankrupt.
“How does one recover from such a blow—losing everything on an unjust charge and in the face of a collective betrayal by those whom one had regarded as one’s dependents and friends?” John Tyson sat down and studied all the ways the team could be forgiven for yielding to the temptation that he had not foreseen. The fact that the temptation came from outside the company and not from within where he had built a relationship of trust with his people was important to him. It allowed him to clear his mind of resentment and begin again. He began forgiving his team and was reconciled to them. Within a short while he had refinanced his business and returned to his dominant position in the market. Forgiveness defeated the hostile intruder. —–Tyson story taken from the book Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Mallcch, Nelson, 2008.
Forgiveness does something inside the forgiver as well as the forgiven. The one forgiven gets another chance, but a by-product of forgiving, (perhaps God’s real reason for forgiveness) is that the forgiver is freed, too. When forgiven we are freed from having to carry the guilt of the offense. When we forgive we are released from resentment and bitterness that comes from dwelling on an offense done to us. This is a no lose situation–good comes when we use words as God would have us use them.
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us forgive, rejoice and be glad in it!