The Forgotten Facet of Leadership: Forgiveness
While reading the book Improving Your Serve by Charles R. Swindoll, my eyes hit this sentence and froze, “It isn’t long before anyone who gets serious about serving others must come to terms with forgiving others as well.” Having attended conference after conference, workshop after workshop, seminar after seminar, and class after class on being a good servant and or servant leader, forgiveness has never been a part of the curriculum. In the past, as a servant and or servant leader, I would have easily suggested to you to hold on to your heart. Now I realize that some level of forgiveness is necessary. Actually, let me share two types of forgiveness required of leaders in the Kingdom of God.
First, forgiving yourself is an absolute must. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Although the bars of popular opinion and moral statutes for Christian leaders are extremely high (and in my personal estimation totally unrealistic), you can never allow your human self to dissipate as your humanity will appear at the most inopportune times. Notice I said popular opinion because this is totally opposite in the word of God. The bible is filled with examples of fallen and forgiven leadership.
Oftentimes Christians, Christian women especially, tend to measure ourselves against others in whom we deem successful, holier, righteous or titled. Doing so has proven to be a huge disappointment as none have arrived at the place where grace has not been its transport. We must learn to not measure ourselves at all, but rather lean into the grace granted and forgiveness will meet us at destination after destination.
Secondly, although forgiving others may present a different set of issues, it is just as necessary as forgiving yourself. I am sure by now you have heard the saying “forgiveness is not for them, it is for you.” However cliché it may seem, it is true. When you release yourself to forgive others, you too are forgiven.
Remember the model prayer of Jesus recorded in Matthew the sixth chapter? Even if you have been wronged, and you will be, a true servant of God does not keep score. GULP! That was a hard pill for me to swallow. I am guilty of keeping a scorecard and tally sheet in my head. I would wait for the moment for someone to tell me how wrong I did them and then unleash my barrage of you did this and you did that and remember this and you can’t forget that. Well, Holy Spirit arrested my laundry lists of insults, innuendos, hurts, and inflictions by reminding me of times when I quenched Holy Spirit. In order to please the God of forgiveness, I had to relinquish my treasured record of wrongs and repent. As I sought forgiveness, I had to understand the value of not only being forgiven but forgiving others.
As PreacherWoman approaches our 2019 cycle of mentoring, our relevant Christian Education department has tapped into the process of the transformative reconstruction necessary to please our God and forgiveness is a major part of our Christian experience and development. As we become more like Him, we need not shun but rather acknowledge the pain of the transformation process. Letting go of the familiar is not always easy and the grip of sin is not always easily detachable after accepting the new walk, even for leadership.
For the first time in PreacherWoman’s mentoring history, all four modules will approach the same discipline. Dr. Dorothy Haire, our Christian Education Director, has constructed an outline that will guarantee (if applied) transformation as we consider Kenneth Boa’s book, Conformed to His Image: Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation. As we conform to His image, we are less likely to hold onto grudges, gripes and griefs. Although the book is divided into twelve facets (subchapters), our concentration on the first few will keep us on the edge of our seats and at the throne of our Savior. Facet I: (“Loving God Completely”, “Loving Ourselves Correctly”, and “Loving Others Compassionately”) will surely assist us with breaking personal bondages and strongholds, forgiveness included.
In addition to our monthly sessions, we will host two major events in 2019. For the first time, we will honor men in the ministry who have opened doors for women in our region to be acknowledged as co-laborers in Christ. These men were ridiculed and in some cases ostracized for allowing women to preach from their pulpits.
Well, Saturday, June 8th, we will show them the honor they are due and appreciation that is long overdue. Plan to attend as we salute Rev. Dr. Ronald L. Bobo Sr., Bishop Elijah Hankerson, Archbishop Arthur L. Kelley Sr., Bishop George White Jr., and Archbishop Michael A. West Sr. Mark your calendars, this will be more than a luncheon!
On Friday night, October 4th, we are hosting our annual one night revival and the honorable Bishop Jackie McCullough has agreed to be our guest speaker! Without a doubt, you want to be in the house as we hear from God through a proven and seasoned vessel! If you have not heard her, hold onto your Bible. She comes with thunder and lightning! Bishop McCullough is well sought after and is the advisor to many of our generals in the Kingdom of God. Oh, and she’s a woman! HA!
Listen, I know the New Year has already brought with it some old stuff, but I want you to settle in your spirit that help is here. It is not on the way, it is HERE! Unforgiveness in leadership will be exposed, explored and exempted this year. I am looking forward to our year of new, aren’t you? Happy New Year!