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Meetings to Avoid: Using Spiritual Discernment to Promote Success

                    I am a proponent of attending meetings. As a university chaplain, I make it a point to attend both formal and informal meetings throughout the day. My formal meetings may include discussions about fundraising in order to make repairs to the Chapel.  My informal meetings may include brief and unscheduled pastoral counseling sessions in a parking lot or on a sidewalk in order to provide advice and encouragement to the faculty, staff or students. However, there are some meetings that I consciously seek to avoid. Over time, I’ve learned that they are often unproductive, unsettling and sometimes ungodly. At one informal meeting, I quickly discovered that the participants were determined to spread personal and negative information about someone for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, I also attended an informal meeting in which a group of people were committed to undermining another person’s professional and personal progress. It seemed as if the people in these meetings were intent on gossiping and engaging in slander. Even though I am an advocate of attending formal and informal meetings, I’ve learned to identify and, if possible, avoid meetings that are hostile to Christ’s message of love.

                King David was a wealthy, wise and powerful king. He truly loved the Lord, and he is credited with writing the book of Psalms. As a leader, he was responsible for attending many formal and informal meetings. He knew that meetings were taking place among his supporters, political detractors and/or enemies. On one occasion David prayed: “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity (Psalm 64:2).” On another occasion he prayed: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night (Psalm 1:1-2).” David neither wanted to be discussed by people in meetings who were intent on doing evil nor did he want to participate in these meetings. He was a wise king, and ultimately, he believed that God was and would be responsible for his professional success.

                If possible, try to avoid some informal meetings (e.g., meetings among friends, family and co-workers) in which people are intent on dishonoring themselves, others and God. If you must attend, pray for spiritual strength, guidance and protection while you are in the meetings. Lastly, if possible, try to direct the content of the meetings to subjects that reflect the things of God (e.g., peace and forgiveness) and your love for God. We must remember 1 Peter 1:16: “…Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

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