The Boss Thinks You’re Awesome
In my last blog on “Flirting” and the broken relationships between men and women, I quoted a couple folks on how awful men are. “Men are trash,” wrote one. And another, “Men do not love you, okay? So stop thinking that they do. They tolerate you. They lust you. That’s it.”
No doubt these folks have experiential basis for their “critical views” of men. Plenty of bad actors out there. But is it also true that by imputing bad character and behavior to men generally might become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Conversely, might imputing decency and kindness to people, in this instance men, make it more likely they will act in those ways?
While thinking such deep thoughts I came across an article by fellow Mockingbird contributor, Sarah Condon, on the theological doctrine of “imputation.” Her terrific article is “The Best Boss You’ll Ever Have,” with the subtitle, “I was told I was beloved and worthy and so I began to believe it and act accordingly.” Here’s Condon:
“In 2013 the Harvard Business Review published a study called “If Your Boss Thinks You’re Awesome, You Will Become More Awesome.” Their research proved what every low (wo)man on the totem pole already knew: If your boss treats you like a great employee, it will make you less likely to be a bad one. Results showed the quality of peoples’ leadership within a company being vastly better if their boss believed that they were, in fact, awesome. Conversely, the harder your bosses are on you, the less effective your work and leadership were in the eyes of your peers. In other words, if your boss speaks a word of worthiness over you, you begin to believe you are worthy.”
How we are seen matters. Every kid who was told by a parent, step-parent or teacher, “You are dumb,” or “you’ll never amount to anything” or “no one could ever love you,” (sadly many kids get these messages), is deeply wounded and may spend a lifetime trying to recover, while “looking for love in all the wrong places”. But the counterpoint: remember the teacher or grandparent who thought you were really great, and the difference he/ she made in your life?
Here’s where the theology comes in. Christian faith tells us, however much we have screwed up, Christ’s “righteousness” has been imputed to us. Here’s Condon:
“The imputed righteousness of Christ sounds like one of those theological terms that you should have an advanced degree to make sense of. Do not let that dissuade you from engaging with it. Imputation is a concept you have born witness to over and over again. In its plainest terms, we are made righteous through the righteousness of Christ. In Harvard Business Review terms, our boss thinks we are awesome.”
Granted too many churches, clergy and church people have communicated something quite different, something unremittingly critical and judgmental. In fact, some seem to think job #1 is to tell people, you are trash.
That’s not the gospel. More from Condon:
“The imputation of Christ goes far beyond anything we can give. Jesus gave us his righteousness. Full stop. No questions asked. We hear in 2 Corinthians 6:21, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Which is to say, Jesus came to save us from our sin, to take the weight of our sin on himself, so that we would be made righteous in the sight of our Maker.
“It is worth noting that the Devil will impute horrible things to those we love and to us. In moments of deep pain and sin, he will lean in and whisper, ‘Not good enough. Will never measure up. Needs more work.’ This line of thought will get into your bones and impute only desperate loneliness. The imputation of Jesus Christ speaks a word over us that says, ‘righteous, beloved, and forgiven.’ We are made holy through his holiness, and we cannot let evil tell us otherwise.”
So, the good news, news which I hope you and I hear this and every Sunday: Jesus Christ has declared you “righteous,” “beloved,” “forgiven.” The Boss thinks you’re awesome! These are the words God speaks over you. So shut up Devil.
By grace, you are the righteousness of God. Period. Full Stop. Sound the trumpets! Sing songs of praise! Thank you Jesus!