THOUGHTS ON THE THE LORD’S DAY
“Servants who rule and rulers who serve.”
Studies at John Hopkins have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Research also points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.
The greatest threat to effectiveness as a Christian, especially in leadership, is pride. The pride of achievement, the sense of entitlement and the lack of forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness toward God for disappointing you. Not forgiving yourself for your obvious failures and not living up to your own standards. Finally, not forgiving others when they hurt you or don’t meet your expectations.
After decades of ministry, the one thing I have seen above all others that will hurt your testimony and leadership influence is not walking in a spirit of forgiveness, but walking in a spirit of offense, holding grudges and hurt feelings. Putting people down and in a negative position publiclicly while justifying your own weaknesses, disqualifies you to serve, much less rule.
Have you ever been offended? Is there someone you can’t forgive? Are you having trouble moving on with your life? Jesus told us that offenses come to everyone. Everyone gets offended, however, staying offended is your choice and will ruin your testimony and witness.
As a Christian, you can’t afford to stay offended because of your pride or ego. Pride will keep you from apologizing and releasing forgiveness to the offender. Today’s pride becomes tomorrow’s bitterness.
What if you never get an apology from those who offend you or hurt your feelings? Do you know how to handle it, both as a servant and one who has authority? Can you choose to forgive, even when it’s not asked of you? If you choose to hang on to the offense, keep rehearsing it and refuse to forgive, you open the door to be tormented.
Don’t give away your peace and joy to the enemy because of pride and your refusal to forgive. Isaiah 26:3 says, God will keep us in perfect peace as long as long as our our minds are focused on Him. Lack of peace indicates that someone other than God has assumed the throne of your life and you are allowing those you refuse to forgive live in your brain ”rent-free.”
Israel lost because she would not forgive the Romans who had offended, grieved and slaughtered her. Instead, she put on her robes of self-righteousness and said, “I thank God I am not like these other people” (Luke 18:11). This is a key lesson that all mature Christians and servant-leaders have learned. Don’t let your pride keep you from serving and don’t allow your false humility to set you up for failure when you find yourself in a place of authority.
The spirit of offense infiltrates every organization and causes division, dissension, strife, hurt and pain. Offense is like an automatic weapon. Once you pull the trigger, it keeps on firing. We must examine ourselves, root it out, deal with it, and learn to walk in the spirit of forgiveness. If you don’t, you will become bitter when you serve and arrogant when you rule.
Who besides you needs your forgiveness today? Why the delay? When you deal with the why, you will have no problem with the act. Forgiveness is never an option for servants who rule, and rulers who serve. Not only does the Bible demand it, our continuing health and quality of life depends on it!