With no qualifications

While teaching business communication a few weeks ago, we stumbled upon strategic ambiguity. Imagine that you fired an employee for being a terrible, lazy, underhanded worker.

Then, you’re asked for a letter for potential employers. You might write something like this, from Communicating at Work by Adler and Elmhorst.

I am pleased to say John Doe is a former employee of mine. He left this job just as he came, fired with enthusiasm. I can recommend John Doe to you with no qualifications whatsoever.

That’s the phrase, “with no qualifications,” that caught my interest. This type of strategery (teehee) is funny because it operates on a level built on knowledge of how words can be interpreted differently depending on context. My favorite example of this is here:

I’m fascinated by words/phrases that simultaneously mean opposite things. As Tamara Out Loud pointed out this week, “peruse” is one such word. Though the smarty pants that decide such things were still rejecting the second (erroneous) definition of peruse, “to browse or read through in a leisurely way,” people still use it. They don’t care much for what egg-heads at the OED think about their word usage.

Let me say, for a minute, that I’m glad God takes me with no qualifications. I am not qualified to gain his love. I’ve hurt him, I have not loved, not followed, not obeyed. I have remained stagnant in my faith, through periods of my life, have not grown, have failed.

God loves us with no qualifications. He would never say “I would love you more if you lost weight.” “If you make a mistake, I will love you less.” I have never found any place in my worn green leather Bible where it says how to make God love you more than he has since before you were born. You will locate no Scriptures that say God will stop loving you because you mess up. Instead, we read of grace. He loves us instantly, intently, unconditionally and unremittingly.

It’s more often that I place qualifications upon myself. I figure God won’t hear my prayers anymore if I haven’t prayed in a while. I assume that I have to be perfect to come to him or he won’t listen. I assign myself the weight of trying to meet the qualifications. And when I do that, I don’t meet the minimum requirements.

What are your favorite dual-purpose words/phrases? What qualifications do you place on yourself or others for following Christ?

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14 responses to “With no qualifications

  1. Dang, hits home. I used to be so qualifications-driven that I would judge people out of nowhere. From music, to serving at church, to prayer-life… you name it. I’m thankful that God has broken me in those areas and shown me that there is nothing on my own that I can bring. It’s all about Him.

  2. While I know that God doesn’t place qualifications on me, I still do it. Most times I’ll say or think something like, “No wonder God won’t answer my prayer, I can’t even do ______ (fill in the blank) right. And I still find myself saying things like, “As soon as I get ____ under control (i.e. praying better, meditating on Scripture rather than just reading it to read it, serving others), THEN God will hear my prayers/love me more, etc.

    Really, I do know that God accepts me and my imperfections. So why do I keep placing qualifications on myself?

    • I have no idea, but I do it, all the time. I’m terrible about being hard on myself even though I know all I have to do is give my gunk to God. I still hold on to it and then beat myself up for it.

  3. There is a common saying around these parts–“God won’t bless no mess.” Aside from the bad grammar, it is the bad theology that irks me the most. If God did not bless messes, none of us would ever be blessed.

  4. Oh, I definitely have nothing that makes me “qualified” for his love. So grateful for his mercy and unfailing love.

    The way I see it, the minute I start to see myself as “qualified” I have officially become a Pharisee. <– Yikes!

  5. Kristin, way to stir the pot. 🙂 It is so easy to get sucked into a world of qualifications and labels. We put them on everything else to compartmentalize them so it’s only natural we should put them on ourselves, right? Take our tendency to beat ourselves up for past mistakes over and over again. Everything we know about scripture is that when we go before God with a humbled and broken experience, we can trust that God forgives us by grace. Yet, we continue to beat ourselves up. It’s an almost “Wait, did God really forgive me just now?” kind of thing. Godly forgiveness is something we cannot begin to comprehend because it looks so different from our system. Thanks for sharing this!

    • labels are pretty dangerous – we hem ourselves in with them, and put other people in boxes with them – we use them as weapons of self-destruction.

      I can’t even imagine what all our posturing and self-flaggelation looks like to God.

      Thanks for commenting, Bryan!

  6. That was a great skit 🙂

    And I stand by my comment that peruse is a great word. I was disappointed that I didn’t get any kind of reply!

    “Funny” is a great multi-purpose word. humorous. weird. broken. scary.

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