For some, the topic struck a raw nerve. Questions submitted ahead of my presentation, “Keys to Building Personal Brand,” circled a common theme … How do I correct a mistake that left the wrong impression? How do I turn brand-breaker moments into brand-maker impressions? Behind those questions … someone searching for a second chance. A do-over.
When the hour ended, I offered to stick around. Eight quickly queued in front of me. Some with downcast eyes and whisper voices, wanting to rewrite their story in the eyes of another fixated on a brand-breaker image instead. Another who was long on memory and short on forgiveness.
I pictured Jonah. Although a prophet called to carry God’s message, he balked when God asked him to preach repentance to sin-city, Ninevah. Jonah’s obstinacy landed him in the belly of a giant fish. There, he saw the error of his way and repented.
God gave Jonah another chance. He called Jonah a second time to Ninevah. This time, Jonah obeyed, Ninevah repented, and God relented, giving the city a second chance.
Happy ending, right? But, not so. Instead, Jonah was long on memory and short on forgiveness. He railed at God, “I knew it … I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!” (Jonah 4:1-2, The Message) Jonah wanted justice. He wanted Ninevah destroyed for their past.
Who can blame Jonah? After all, how many times have we believed someone’s promise to change only to wind up disappointed again. How many times have we witnessed someone to drift backwards into old habits with the passage of time? Or just remain clueless about the impact of their poor behavior?
Still, God calls us to a different answer. To grant second chances. Even to “seventy-times-seven” chances.
This week, the image of those tarnished-brand seekers clung to me like sweat-soaked clothing on a humid, August day in Texas. I’ve been that railing Jonah. And I’ve been Ninevah given a second chance. So, I re-shaped my approach … one short on memory and long on forgiveness.
What would you suggest to someone looking to turn a brand-broken impression into a brand-maker?
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying … (Jonah 3:1, NKJV)
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