A leader’s effectiveness decays throughout time if one never learns the art of forgiving. As we lead others, offense is unavoidable. Unavoidable, because we are broken leaders leading broken followers. Perfection has not happened for any leader, except perhaps Jesus – but He is hard to figure out. Somehow he leads by being downright counter cultural while consistently landing on love.
An almost impossible task for mere humans.
The other day, I witnessed the effects that offenses have on leaders. My admiration for my friend is sincere but as we shared stories something inside of him drastically changed. From his heart (and consequentially mouth) came nothing but poisonous toxins. Criticism of others that lacked any form of gratitude.
He has every right to be angry. Seven years ago he was betrayed in a partnership, and lost everything. Yet, he had close friends and family prop him up and now finds himself outwardly reestablished. Except that he is not happy with anything in life.
He adopted a new posture called, “Only my way.”
This is tragic.
My friends problems are real, but by holding on to pain, I could tell he is suffering from another form of cancer – Cancer of unforgiveness.
The longer this emotional cancer goes unchecked the deadlier it becomes. Let me offer advice concerning the importance of letting go and forgiving others.
“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” – Hannah More
There is a cost to pay for embracing offense. We all encounter situations where we have reasons to be offended. We get hurt – as we are sinned against and sin ourselves. It is a royal pain-in-the-heart but a fact of leadership.
We must learn to cope. Like Hanna said – offenses are a waste of spirits. Learning to cope with offense means dealing with the problem and turning the rest over to God.
It means not allowing yourself to become a chronic victim of snarky people but giving grace in appropriate measure. Understanding that sin is the real problem – not people. By maintaining a posture of gratitude in all circumstances, we can consistently see what is right in the world.
Seeing what is right in the world is empowering.
I wish my friend had a place to lay down his offenses. At this point in his leadership journey, he does not. I had to learn how to deal with the realities of mine – then give the rest to Jesus. This allows me the ability to get unstuck and free from the saltless stew of discontentment. This nasty tasting stew can be a leadership killer.
What advice would you give someone dealing with an offense?