All Cards on the Table

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. Proverbs 20:5 (NIV)

Years ago I found myself sitting in a homeowners association meeting; frustrated. The assembled group was trying to solve some neighborhood issues. As we discussed some of the possible solutions, the discussion felt hampered. Everyone in the room seemed to be holding back, hesitant with their comments.

I’ve always been an all-cards-on-the-table kind of guy, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. I don’t like when people play politics, not really revealing their motives or intentions. I like to know what others are thinking and what they really mean when they speak. I appreciate people who let their yes be yes and their no be no, as we’re encouraged in the Bible.

So being a newcomer at this meeting, I couldn’t figure out why everyone seemed slow to engage in the conversation. Then I realized what was going on. Someone at the table was playing politics, protecting turf. There were hidden purposes in her heart. I addressed the woman directly, asking what she thought would be a good solution. She replied vaguely with something that was a non-answer. And then I noticed that she only spoke up when she didn’t like a response that someone else gave. You see, this woman was the gatekeeper of all things HOA. Everyone knew it except me, and nothing was going to get past this steel fortress.

I guess one of the reasons I like to get all of the cards out on the table is that it builds trust. It shows that all ideas have a place in our consideration. It honors others and values their contributions.

Our Proverb for today tells us that many people have hidden purposes in their hearts. The challenge is to be the person who is able to draw those purposes out…and then purpose to live without any hidden agenda.

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