What's Down in the Well?


Whether it's at work or home, what is the best way to address issues when someone does something that bothers you?

What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.

One of my young executives taught me a principle years ago that I've never forgotten. It was cathartic for me as a leader… and as a husband.

He said, “When something that one of your employees does bothers you, confront them with it before that day ends. No matter how petty…how trivial…how embarrassing, confront it.”  Don’t go home; don’t let them go home without talking it out.

For years, I harbored grudges against my wife. “She’s not this,” or “She’s not that,” I’d complain to my friends (and anyone who would listen). Ultimately, my deceptive little heart used these judgments to pull away from her. I became even more critical . . . more caustic. I used her “failings” to justify all kinds of failings on my end. It ended in disaster with her leaving me and my life in shambles.

What would have happened if I had dealt with all that stuff? What if I had gone to an older, wiser friend and told him about my feelings and my judgments of her? What if I’d talked those things out with her IMMEDIATELY after I started feeling them? Who knows?

The reality is that it took her leaving to wake me up to the junk I had hidden down in my “well”. I couldn't suppress it forever. It was going to come out—if not in the “bucket” of my words, then in the “bucket” of my behavior. Like a splinter buried deep in the sole of your foot, it’s got to come out or it’s going to lead to real problems.

God created us for relationships—with Him, His son, His spirit, and with other people. He taught us to keep short accounts…like “before dark” short. When we “man up” and deal with what’s lodged in our hearts, we’ll be healthier, “lighter,” and more lovable.

It’s a discipline worth committing to—


I have to bring it up today.

I have to settle it today.

I have to talk it through today.

Don’t let yourself off the hook any more.

Deal with it now.

“Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”  Proverbs 4:23

P.S. My wife came back and we started over. Married 42 years now—the 28 since she left and came back have been extraordinary! Thanks to the grace of Jesus Christ.

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