The First Reason or the Second Reason

Edwin Eby


An already successful business owner in his mid sixties informed his sales people one morning that he had just discovered a business principle, that no doubt would have been the catalyst to greater financial returns had he discovered it much earlier in life. He explained that customers declining a purchase and asked why seldom give the true reason first. "Maybe the second or third reason if prompted, he said, but seldom the real' reason." Therefore, he informed his sales people, the next question after a customer's given reason for not making a purchase, should always be to politely ask something such as "and if that reason could be taken away, what other reason would keep you from the purchase?" That, he alleged, would be the real' reason the customer is not making the purchase (or at least closer to the real reason than the first reason). Sometimes he informed, "You might need to even take away the second reason to discover the real reason'." Folks seldom give the real' reason first. This is the way people are." At least, he mentioned, "If you know the real reason as a salesperson you have options to decide how best yet to make the sale. Please, don't leave them go out my door without at least knowing what was the real' reason we lost the sale." We soon discovered the man was right.

What the sales manager had really discovered was the nature of sin in man. He had discovered a business principle that works based upon the sin nature of mankind. Man is not always completely honest with himself, let alone another. A long list of human motivation could be in focus. Perhaps it is shame, bashfulness, image, personal agenda, hiding of financial position, protection of family, or even as simple perhaps as the customer really only wanting an estimate in the beginning. Yet the truth remains. Seldom do folks give the real' reason first. Unregenerate man will make this business principle hold true but the transformed in Christ man will blow this financial marketing tool to the wind not merely in business life but in every aspect of life and conduct.

John gave a simple holy answer to this common sin nature of man. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Eph 4:16). God wrote through the prophet Zechariah (8:16) "These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates."

(2Cor 4:2) "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

Yet at times even Christian pastors, parents, bishops, teachers and/ or brethren of every rank fall prey to this same first reason' error yet seeming without compunction of conscience. It seems to appear at times to "even be the best for the occasion". It even appears at times that a religious first reason' is the best means to a good, kind, and appropriate end. Sometimes its argued to even be the right way. But it is false! Every transformed man or woman's first desire should always be to speak the truth in love. Not in anger, not in contempt, not for selfish advantage, not for the listeners advantage, not for any reason! Anything less finally wounds, creates suspicion, crucifies relationships, falsifies intent, leads wrong impressions, assumptions, and conjectures and displeases God. Perhaps it is true concerning business success. It is without doubt true of unregenerate men. But God forbid it be of His people.

God is true. God is love. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). Without exception, truth spoken in true fervent love, void of ulterior motive or action, is God's way. It always brings the best from the occasion whether obvious or oblivious at the moment. Let our guide be the real' reason first in love.

— Greencastle PA

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