How to Be Assertive When You’re a Christian
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Can Kingdom Entrepreneurs be assertive without being overly aggressive or defaulting to anger? It’s a paradox. Christian business leaders need to be authoritative and assert themselves in all kinds of situations, but doing so can feel counter-intuitive. Don’t the meek inherit the earth? In this episode, Pierce Brantley unpacks a spiritual discipline and technique he uses to exercise assertiveness without engaging anger or fear. You’ll learn how to positively assert yourself while still demonstrating Christ-likeness. The result is a stronger testimony and a reputation that will stay intact.
Today we are going to talk about how to exercise authority, how to be assertive, how to be present in a situation. Sometimes we have to take action as a Christian business owner as an entrepreneur. So I have a question.
When was the last time you really had to assert yourself?
Maybe you felt a little anger or driven by urgency. Most importantly though, you felt like you were justified to take action in a situation. I don’t know what it was. Maybe contractor dropped the ball or you missed an important deadline or someone missed one for you or someone just didn’t do what they needed to do, but you decided to step in because you had to fix the situation.
Well, this sounds like you, if you’re a go getter, a high D on the DISC, maybe you’re the anger triad with the Enneagram or, more importantly, you just work with people. If you’re a fixer, if you’d like to get things done, you like to take names. We’re going to be talking about something really important today for you because when you’re a leader, there are times when you have to assert yourself when you’re a leader there’s times and you have to be authoritative.
When you’re a leader, you need to fix a situation every once in a while.
And all of these things, especially. If you’re a Christian or you are Christian Business Owner, they can kind of cause an internal angst just because we know on some level that we can’t just fly off the handle, even though we might feel like it, we know.
That just barreling through something, even though it might get us to the other side of whatever circumstance we’re in, might kind of leave damage in the lives of people and in the lives of our company. But we still have to do something and we don’t know what to always do with that in contrast with how we see Christ, you know, live out his life.
And so oftentimes I think we feel stuck.
And so what we do instead is we say, well, you know, let’s just be nice. Let’s just have some grace. Let’s just forgive. Let’s just step back and hope it doesn’t happen again next time, because we’re in conflict with how we should. Act when the situation requires it of us because of our faith.
And so that’s, what I want to talk about today is how would Jesus, how is someone who is truly trying to abide in what Christ did on the earth and how he expects us to live? What would that look like if you needed to be. Assertive, if you needed to be authoritative in a situation that called for it, because there’s circumstances all day long, if you’re an owner operator or if you’re just, you know, somewhere high up in the management level where you’re going to have to take something by the rains.
But you want to do it in a way that’s Christ honoring. So that’s what we’re going to talk about many years ago. I was in a board meeting with a technology company and they thought that they were going to be a national asset, meaning that they had the hunch. They foresaw that the government might take over the technology because it was so important to socio-economic development stabilization of, of what it could be happening in the energy sector.
Big stuff. It was cool. What was interesting about why I was there was because I was there with the leader of the company that I was working for. We were looking at putting together a kind of a tertiary type marketing branding strategy for them along with some other business development stuff.
And we’ve been working with them for some time, but this day was particularly different and it was different because one of the business partners I was with that represented our company, I put together a new proposal for this company and what they had done was a little bit nefarious, actually was a lot Nefarious a lot nefarious.
Is that a thing? What they decided to do was in the proposal, they wrote in very fine print, buried in the legal, ease that about, I want to say it was 20% of 20 to 25% of the revenue from this company. Any profit realized had to be handed over to us, to the marketing company. Now they had no idea this language was in there.
None hadn’t been talked about before and when the time came to sign paperwork, what was pitched? Was the typical things you might see in a, in a really large scale brand strategy. What was in the proposal looked completely different and to make matters worse. What had happened, if you can just imagine this big boardroom it’s time to sign the paperwork.
And this person folded over the paper over the important parts of the proposal, and just said, sign here on the bottom line. They actually thought this was going to work mind you. I don’t know if they thought they could just Rue the person into signing or what. And most importantly, there was another document that this document referenced that basically said anything that’s in the other document is basically part of the proposal.
And they didn’t show him or they didn’t show this company that, that document extremely, extremely deceptive. And for a moment, it looked like he was going to get away with it, but he didn’t within a minute, a minute. The person who is signing realized that something was up and he started asking, well, you know, why can’t I read this when I just read this?
And then. As you can imagine, he didn’t want to show him the document. So he actually put it in a corner of the room, which of course escalated the situation. You can imagine very high profile very kind of type a people yelling at each other in a boardroom. It was like a great eighties movie where you don’t know who’s going to win, but the loudest voice is certainly going to try.
I removed myself from the situation realizing that the sky would not probably be a good person to work with long-term and I didn’t know what to do. Part of me thought I needed to get legal counsel. Another part of me thought, you know, well, I definitely need to disclose at least the situation, other people at the very least, I’d probably just need to quit and get out of here.
I knew I had to do something. And I knew it. Wasn’t just going to be a normal type of client situation, especially now that trust has been broken at such a big level. And so I removed myself from the situation the next morning. I’m still pretty distraught early morning, and I started to go and spend some extra time with the Lord.
And while I’m praying about whether to quit you know, whether to go find a lawyer to kind of remove myself from the situation, praying about what to do. I hear very, very clearly in my spirit, as I’m praying, I hear if he asks you how he can change, you need to stay came out of thin air came out of the blue and I’ll be honest, that was not.
Really what I had in mind at this point, I was to be honest, in my worst moments, I was afraid because I was like, if they could try and do this with one client, imagine what they would do, you know, to me. And so there was a strong lack of trust there, but really it probably just boiled down to someone wanting to capitalize on what could have been a big opportunity and who hasn’t wanted to do that.
And so no sooner. Do I have this thought from the Lord, then this person calls me and it’s early in the morning, mind you it’s very early in the morning. And what do you expect? They want to talk about what happened the day before, because we hadn’t talked since then. Because the situation had just escalated and I had removed myself and, you know, they, they had a million ways of explaining why they did what they did.
But I basically told them, Hey, listen, I’m looking for other opportunities. I basically put a fleece out there and you know, they were shocked and they said, well, Whoa, you know, what can I do to change in order to rebuild your trust? And I thought this was odd because really I reported to this person and they didn’t actually need to make this invitation.
But I remember what the Lord had told me just about five minutes prior. And I said, okay, well, listen, If we are going to continue to work together. A couple of things are gonna need to change one. I’m going to need disclosure on anything that you’re working on in terms of like the proposal and the contract side of it.
The other is I’m going to need you to actually practice active listening. So instead of you reframing. Like legal language and opportunity in a way that benefits you. I need to actually hear you repeat what people are saying as a way of basically self confessing that you’re listening to them. And that way I can know that you’re being present to the needs of others.
And honestly, I thought that was kind of a high bar to ask given what had just happened the day before, but their posture towards it was completely open. Even beyond that, they begin to show the signs of change. And so moving forward in different meetings, different clients scenarios, it did the same to start practicing active listening.
They would actually repeat out loud what the person was saying. As a way of facilitating, you know, agreement of showing that they were on the same page, they started being more transparent with how they did proposals and, and short of terms, they repented they’d changed the way they were acting, at least as it related to this type of type of stuff.
So why do I tell you this story? The reason is because it was a scenario that absolutely required something to be done. Something had to change now, whether that was boundary or refactoring of the relationship, or just calling someone to task something to had to happen. My question though, was what would it look like for a Christian to assert themselves in a situation in such a way that it still glorifies the Lord now?
What was so interesting? Is that the Lord had asked me to give them an invitation. Basically I would have never used that language at the time, but a call to repentance, let them be willing to change, let them be restored. And so that’s what I did. And that’s what happened. And what’s cool about this story is it actually reminds me of Luke chapter 22, Luke chapter 22.
We’re not going to go through and read it all, but it is the story of Jesus getting arrested. If you’re familiar with the story, Jesus is in the garden of get the Semini and there’s a minor-league mob about to take him in some of the high priests are there. Judases there, but some of the disciples are there too.
And at the height of the escalation the Bible says someone, I love how it says someone in Luke because the someone was Peter and they’re just like, not calling them out, but everybody knows it’s Peter. So Peter. It takes a sword and basically says, Hey, you know what? It is time to assert the God-given authority that has been given to me, the kingdom of God is about to come.
And I am going to start this battle here and now it takes a sword swings at one of the soldiers. And you kind of get this picture of the soldier kind of dodging kind of juking Peter’s sword. And putting his head off to the side and Peter swings in the sword, clean cuts off the dudes here, slices it right off and it’s on the ground.
And you can imagine that Peter’s intent was actually to be a little bit more final. And you can imagine him kind of getting geared up to swing again. You actually hear earlier, earlier in the story, Peter asks about read two swords, which is, I think kind of funny. He was going Ninja style. So anyway, Jesus, however is not having it.
He’s irate. He says that’s enough. Very firmly, basically cut it out. And what does he do? He reaches down. It picks up the soldier’s ear. This one that’s about to arrest him. He walks up to the soldier and he puts the ear back on the soldier and he heals him. And then he lets the soldier continue on his way.
It’s extremely powerful because we see two different pictures of authority working themselves out. We see the worlds. Perspective on authority, which is basically go for the juggler, win, win the argument, win over the situation, beat them, and then you see another way you see Christ’s way, which is in my presence.
I am going to act. As a vehicle of restoration in my presence, I will not stand for things to be broken in. My presence. Authority looks like two things, resurrection and restoration authority in the kingdom looks like resurrection and restoration. Authority in the kingdom, refuses for brokenness to be a banner over a person’s life in the presence of God, severed things will be restored.
And the presence of God dead things come to life. The world’s sense of authority is always about flexing power about being right, but heaven’s authority says that which is broken will be healed. So, how do you assert yourself as a Christian business leader? What does this mean for the day in day out parts of our lives?
So next time you’re in a high stakes situation. I want you to consider this a three part process to being authoritative, to acting assertively in a situation that requires it. The first thing is to just separate yourself. Put down your sword, so to speak and submit to the Lord’s authority, get in the secret place, get his perspective because if a situation or person is broken, he has a perspective about it.
And it’s really going to be beneficial to bring him into it because that’s what kingdom looks like. The second is, well, I just call root cause analysis. A lot of you will know what that means. But effectively, it just means, you know, what is the real issue here? Because when we’re angry, Or when we have a personality that’s maybe leans towards just wanting to kind of fix the situation.
We can kind of act on our own personality, our own persona, our own agency to try and just get something done in order to kind of band-aid something to stitch something up, and that can oftentimes gloss over what really happened. You know, also. All it does is kind of it’s, it can lead to a type of vanity because really you are simply going to, you’re going to finish the situation and you’re gonna feel good about yourself.
But you may have not actually looked at what the root issue is. So you’ll feel good about fixing the problem. But there might be a failure to really understand what the real problem is. So know what you’re actually fighting through. I’m trying to say yes. And then lastly, but certainly not least you need to have in your mind.
How am I going to restore people? The kingdom of God is primarily about people not process. So you act authoritatively in needs to actually elevate others. So I love Ephesians four eight, and it just talks about how basically when Christ came, he came with gifts, he came with gifts. So not only is he like Coming and walking in salvation, not only is he Lord of our lives, the Lord of the dance he’s coming in and he’s saying, Hey bud, I got gifts.
And what I love about that, you know, there’s tons of talks about Jesus being a servant leader. But what I love about that is the restorative process is actually. A gift. So not only is a person saved, but they’re endowed. How true is that of you and a VI? So when we need to actually heal a situation, bring restoration in a person’s life and the situations, life, a team whatever that looks like.
Leave it better than you found it. Let there be so much grace in your action that it’s causing an overflow in that person’s life that they are going to be marked by the reality of heaven because of the way you took action. So that’s this week’s lunch break. Hope you enjoyed it. I would love to know if there’s a situation where you got to flex the kingdom’s authority and you got some testimony out of it, share it with Joe and myself.
And we’d love to hear from you. Thanks so much. Thank you so much for listening today. If you enjoyed this show, please leave us a five-star review and share this with a friend. It would help us out tremendously. Also, if you’d like to stay in touch and get a free copy of the first chapter of Pierce’s new book, calling how to partner with God and any business with any boss at any place in life.