Recently when I was travelling I made an insensitive cross cultural remark at a dinner. I made a dig at another nationality without thinking that there was some-one at the table of that nationality. Such a rookie mistake.
To be honest I don’t remember what I said, but I remember the hurt I caused. I also remember that my little remark opened the door, for four other people who respect me, to add to my remark causing even more hurt.
After I found out that I had been offensive , I apologised profusely. I just wish it had never happened.
Here is what I learned
1. You never know the backgrounds of people listening to a conversation so any snide remark about any people group is seriously unhelpful. (Most of you already knew this- I did too – I just forgot)
2. As a person in a leadership role – you make take an inch. The people who look up to you will then take a mile. What we do is modelled good and bad. This is mostly sub-conscious . People don’t think “Pam made a negative comment, hey now I have permission to make one too” – they just do it, because I opened the door for it.
3. Apologising is good. However I cannot undo the damage done to the relationships of the other people in the room who joined in my negativity. I can pray and believe for them but I cannot apologise for them. I am responsible for the repercussions.
4. Pride comes before a fall. Honestly I thought I was pretty good cross-culturally. Apparently not ! I need to go back to being more aware.
5. The cheap laugh is never cheap. It costs a lot. It breaks trust.
It wasn’t a total disaster. This is mostly because the person I offended was incredibly gracious. But it has crossed my mind numerous times in the last few weeks.
I want to be a better person than I was that night. I don’t ever want to cause pain in relationships because of insensitivity.
I want to be a leader that opens the door for positive faith filled words to flow. Words that build people. Words that encourage and uplift. Words that are filled with grace and truth.
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