But we know that people are complicated and have a mixture of flaws and talents and sins. So why do we pretend that we don't?

— Jon Ronson —

Story – The other day, I was reminded of a story about a math teacher who wrote the following equations on the board for her students to memorize:

1 x 9 = 7

2 x 9 =18

3 x 9 = 27

4 x 9 =36

5 x 9 = 45

6 x 9 = 54

7 x 9 = 63

8 x 9 = 72

9 x 9 = 81

10 x 9 = 90

When she turned around from the whiteboard she noticed most of the class was snickering and whispering to each other.

She then said, “This is a great lesson for you. I’m assuming you all got hung up on the first equation, which was incorrect, and that prevented you from looking at and understanding the other nine equations.”

She went on to say, “This is how it often is in life and with people. We get hung up on one error a person makes and fail to see all the correct “equations” they’ve made in their life.

Fact – We live in a very judgmental and sensitive world.

Someone says something out of ignorance, and we cancel them.

Someone says something that doesn’t align with our thinking, and we judge them.

Someone votes for a different party than we do and we assume there is something wrong with them.

Personal Experience – This thought reminds me of a time about five years ago when I was teaching a leadership class.

I tell many real-life stories when I teach my classes, and I was telling a story about how one of our receptionists had been verbally abused over the phone by a co-worker’s family member.

I explained to the class that the behavior exhibited by the family member was unacceptable because the receptionist was on the clock working for HealthCare Pharmacy and when working for HealthCare Pharmacy, everyone adhered to our number one value: Treat others better than we expect to be treated…we called this The Golden Rule Plus One. This value also applied to the people we interacted with during the workday.

Said differently, we had a low tolerance for anyone who harmed one of our teammates.

I then explained to the class how I handled the situation…I won’t get into details, but it is a great lesson on culture…another topic for another time.

I am sharing this story because, after the two-day class, I asked the attendees to fill out an evaluation.

Most of the time, my evaluations score from 8 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

On this particular occasion, I received a 6 from someone. This “someone” noted in their comments the reason they gave me a 6 was because, during my culture story, I described the receptionist as a “little girl.”

What I recall saying went something like this…”The receptionist that was verbally abused was a high school student and she was very petite and soft-spoken, she came into my office, and I could tell that the angry co-worker’s family member had crushed this little girl’s spirit.”

Summary – My bad.

I never used that term again.

I never received a 6 again.

I’m guessing the person who gave me a 6 missed a heck of a good leadership class because they got hung up on my misuse of a phrase on day one.

How many of us are missing a great life because we get hung up on all the craziness going on around us?

Closing – There are some things we shouldn’t think, say, or do.

Some hurtful actions do not justify a second chance.

Most do.

I am a second, third, fourth, fifth, and more “chance” in progress…because of Jesus.

Jesus never canceled anyone.

Even the people who crucified Him.

Luke 22:34, “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”


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