Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2013

How To Confront A Crisis

By: Dr. Rick Warren

There is a humorous story about a woman that won a huge fortune in a state-run lottery. Upon receiving the news, she called home to her live-in boyfriend and told him, “I have just won the lottery! Start packing!” Her boyfriend replied, “That’s fantastic! Should I pack for warm or cold weather?” She answered without emotion, “I don’t care – just as long as you are out of the house by the time I get home!”

That man had a crisis! And that is the way many crises are – they arrive totally unexpected, finding us completely unprepared for dealing with them. Like it or not, unexpected crises are a part of life. And at this exact moment you are in one of three phases: Either you just got out of a crisis; you are in a crisis right now; or you are headed into a crisis.

There is a fascinating story of a shipwreck in the New Testament of the Bible (Acts 27), from which we can glean three timeless insights for crisis management that you can apply directly to your business:

DETERMINE THE REASON. Ask yourself, “What is really the reason behind this crisis?” The cause is often deeper than what appears on the surface. In the case of the shipwreck recounted by the apostle Paul in the book of Acts, three reasons are cited: (1) They listened to bad advice; (2) they followed popular opinion, and (3) they relied on circumstances rather than what they knew was the right thing to do. If you are having difficulty sorting out the reason for a crisis – try praying about it. King David of Israel wrote, “I tried to think this problem through but it was too difficult for me until I went into Your temple”  (Psalm 18:16).

DETERMINE THE RESULT. Second, ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” Every crisis is an opportunity to enlarge my perspective, sharpen my skills, and develop my character.

DETERMINE YOUR RESPONSE. And third, ask yourself: “What is the best way to respond to this?” Regardless of what else you do, your response should include three elements:

  • Confront the problem. You rarely solve a problem by ignoring it. It probably will not be easy, but God will be with you if you ask Him for strength.
  • Confess your part (if any). If you brought this crisis on yourself, admit it and ask forgiveness. Do not make excuses, and do not shift blame to others. Accepting responsibility is a mark of genuine leadership and emotional maturity.
  • Claim a promise. Did you know in the Bible there are more 7,000 promises from God to help you?  They are like blank checks waiting to be filled in. What are you waiting on? If you do not know the Bible very well, ask a friend who does to help in finding a promise that applies to your situation.

God makes one such promise in Philippians 4:6-7, where He tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

© 2012, Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved. Adapted from a column by Dr. Rick Warren, author of numerous books, including the highly acclaimed, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages worldwide. It affirms the importance of a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life. It has been named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. 

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