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The Enemy Is Not “Out There” 

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The biggest temptation when facing the failure of others at work is to create an “us vs. them” relationship with others and play the blame game. Marketing blames manufacturing. Operations blames R&D. Sales blames finance. The team blames the manager. The manager blames the team. 

Nehemiah teaches us in chapter one that there is no blame. This might be a hard pill to swallow, but let’s look at how Nehemiah responds in this situation.

When Nehemiah heard about the shame and trouble his people in Jerusalem were experiencing, he mourned for days, praying to God about the failures of his people. He didn’t blame. He didn’t create an “us vs. them” relationship between the “good” exiled Jews of Babylon and the “bad” returned-exiled Jews of Jerusalem. He prayed. And listen to the content of his prayer: 

“… I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.” 

Nehemiah never broke relationship with his people. There was no “us” and “them” -- only “we.” He even realized that, collectively, they were all producing results nobody wanted. He knew that he, his failed team, and his failed organization were all citizens of one single ecosystem. His output would inevitably shape their input just as their input shaped his output. Therefore, he knew that the cure for the failure lay in pulling together, rather than fracturing into “friends” and “enemies.” 

What about you? When faced with others’ failure or your company’s failure, do you play the blame game? Or do you realize that you are all connected in one single system -- that there is an input-output “dance” going on between you, the people around you, and the company?


Father, I confess that I often blame and criticize people more than I bless and show compassion. Forgive me for creating division between me and them in my heart. I know the gospel tears down dividing walls and draws “us” and “them” together to form a “we.” Guide my day to unite and not divide. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.


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