November 15, 2010

Time Wasters: Unreliability

Buon giorno. Today's lesson on time wasters is when people and things are unreliable. F'rinstance:
  • Cell phone service should be there when you need it
  • Internet service should be consistent
  • Cable TV service should be available on demand
  • Your auto's battery should start it up
  • The can opener should open cans every time, or Fido and Fluffy will start to get cranky and demanding
  • The airplane should stay together from takeoff through landing
"Big deal, Uncle Bob! We know all that stuff."

I'm glad you're paying attention. Now, how about people?
  • You should be reliable on the job. If the boss considers you unreliable, don't expect that promotion, raise or even continued employment
  • Your boss should pay you for your work
  • Your friend should be reliable and willing to share your burdens
  • You should keep your appointments and be on time
  • A pathological liar hammered you again, and he should be honest
  • Your doctor should diagnose your condition accurately and give you the correct treatment
"Uh, Uncle Bob? We know that, too!"

Bright fellow, ain'tcha?

The simple fact is, we can expect, use all the shoulds and ought to demands that we want, but it does not ensure performance. Things break down, accidents happen, people forget or get into moods. A helpful hint for dealing with reality is to take things as they are, and not get strung out when you believe that should not happen. Well, it did happen, Cupcake, and you have to deal with the real world. (Insisting that things happen the way that you want them to happen is neurotic.)

However, we can do our best to be reliable ourselves:
  • Show up for work consistently and on time. Have it become startling if you are late or unexpectedly absent because of your consistency and reliability.
  • Keep your promises. If you don't mean it, don't say it. (By the way, "I'll try" is usually a cop-out to give you a back door.) Sure, you do not want to disappoint someone or hurt their feelings, but you are more likely to be respected if you simply say, "I won't be able to do that." Bonus points if you offer an alternative: "I can't stay late tonight for overtime, but I can be here early tomorrow".
  • Don't keep your friends waiting, or take them for granted. I know someone who had made arrangements the evening before to do something for them the following day. The guy was preoccupied with something else that day, and several people were inconvenienced by having to reschedule.
  • If you dispense information, give accurate quotes and complete information instead of writing something inaccurate because you hate someone or are simply careless. When people find out the truth, you become unreliable. Nobody likes liars except other liars, and what good are they?
  • Get yourself organized so you can keep track of appointments and things. This will pay off with less stress in your life as well.
  • Keep at it, build up and protect your reputation. About half a minute ago, literally, an e-mail notification popped in requesting that I "like" someone on Facebook so that their presence there gets stronger. The sender guaranteed the work of the company he was promoting. The problem there is that I do not know his character, so I do not know if his guarantee is worthwhile; if I go along with it, then I'm risking my own reputation in this small way. Capice?
  • Be loyal to your friends, except when it requires you to violate your principles. This is a bit of a "thing" of mine, because I do not take friendship lightly. So, I'll put it to you that friendship is more than just friendly acquaintance, it is also a commitment.
We have all of this action from people and objects that may or may not be reliable. We want and usually expect them to be, but they can prove unreliable and we withdraw our trust from them, as well as possibly damaging their reputations by word of mouth. (I should tell you about my bad experiences with Hewlett-Packard customer support, and why I do not buy their products any longer, but never mind about that now.) It would be nice if we learned from the mistakes of others so we resolved not to do the same things that we don't like. 
The fact is, we all have failings as well as expectations. I know full well that I have to keep striving and reaching upward so that I can practice what I preach, and I freely admit that I fail. 

I will tell you with out reservation and with full confidence who can be trusted to be faithful and reliable: God (Deut. 7.9). That's right, I said it! God, as revealed through Jesus Christ (John 1.8) and described in the Bible (Acts 1.3 NASB). I have examined the evidences for the validity of the Bible, and I would testify to its reliability, even to the cost of my life. But you do not know me, there is no reason to simply take my word for it. In fact, I hope you would not! Check it for yourself, instead. People have tried to destroy God's Word for centuries, or even made insipid declarations that "Christianity will be gone in such and so years", but the Bible is still here, still strong, still proven — and will be around long after the critics have met the God that they denied face to face (Isaiah 40.8).

Again I say, check for yourself (God approves, too, Acts 17.11), there are dozens of apologetics links here. If there was nothing to say and solid evidence was not available, these organizations would not exist. I am proclaiming to you the reliability of God's Word because it shows the way to salvation. We're all lost without it.


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