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"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

Assertiveness: A Shoe Story

"The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25 NKJV)."

A long time ago, long before I became a Christian, I worked in the shoe department of a now defunct department store. This is the story of two department managers and how they handled their very difficult supervisor. It is a story about assertiveness (or the lack of it).

The first manager was an older woman, probably in her fifties. She was a nice person to work for--though there were some clear deficiencies in her abilities as a manager. I don't know if she was a Christian.

When the area manager came to the store, he would rip into her emotionally, right in front of us clerks: "How did you get to be a manager!" She just took the abuse; she feared offending her boss and losing her job. Or, to put it in Biblical terms, she felt that "the fear of man" would give her safety. And she needed her job.

We'll, she lost the job anyway. We don't know what else was going on in her life, but this boss and her fear of him clearly impacted her emotions: She was observed drinking wine in the parking lot before work and was fired.

When the area manager came to the store and announced her firing, he stated that she must have some serious mental issue. Of course, what happened had nothing to do with him. He presented with an air of being righteous; these kind of people often do.

Then we got a new manager. He was a Christian. I know this because he always left a Bible on his desk. I remember thinking that this must be the source of his strength. But the issue was never discussed. This new manager was also nice to work for--and was an excellent manager.

However, the fact that this new manager was proficient did not in any way change the way he was treated by the area manager: He told us so: He stated that the area manager tried to be disrespectful to him, just like the other manager, but that he told him something like "I'm not going to take that kind of stuff."

Well, he kept his job and his mental health as well. Later, he left the shoe business and got a good paying job with the United States Post Office. He succeeded because he understood a Biblical principal and had the courage to act on it.

Remember: "The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25 NKJV)."


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Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.