We are all in process; many of us who find ourselves in a leadership positions, tend to forget that it is by the grace of God that we find ourselves here. It is way too easy to think we have earned our position or deserve to be here. We do not. We never will. It is all because God is good, and His grace and love are sufficient to cover us.
I fail at times too. Recently there was a situation where I didn’t ask God for wisdom on how to love one of our leaders through a situation. I just assumed that they would receive correction well. I thought that it would be a simple conversation and we could move on to the next subject. But I was wrong. I did not deliver the message well. I did not consider this person’s feelings, but assumed they would receive it positively. I failed at taking it to the Lord and asking for His love and grace through it. I was more concerned about them being corrected and moving on, than what the heart behind the correction was and how I delivered it. The conversation ended abruptly and unresolved. The Lord showed me what I had done. I called this precious leader back, asked for forgiveness, and asked if I could start over again. We had a good laugh, they had grace and forgave me.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 - The Way of Love
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
We are nothing and gain nothing if we do not love.
Family, at the end of the day we need to be loving people well. Jesus is the ultimate example on how we love and lead others. We love people by approaching them with grace, never with a bad attitude or with harsh speech or a critical spirit. Guess what? Our way is not the best way. We do not have it all figured out, nor do we have what it takes to make someone who they need to be. God does. So the more we encourage people in Him, the more they will become who God created them to be. He transforms, He is All-Knowing, He is All-Powerful, and He is everything anyone will ever need.
We love them by speaking truth to them, not our truths, the truths of God’s Word. We love and encourage them through the hard stuff and rejoice with them in the good. Our leadership and love for them bears, believes, hopes, and endures through all things. Our love for them should never end.
This is the action of love noted in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER ENDS”.
If we do not love them we are nothing but noise in their lives, and we really don’t have anything to offer them but personal standards, harsh criticism and empty words. We gain nothing. But if we love them well, we get to partner with God and watch His hand mold and shape people into who He has called them to be. Let’s be FOR people.
I love this quote by John Stott:
The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.
So take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I loving people well?” When I speak or spend time with people, am I speaking life into them? Am I cultivating a relationship on fear or trust? (Ouch) Am I modeling grace and forgiveness as it has been shown to me? (Double ouch) When confronting someone what is my heart? Do I want to restore or be right?
God loves people with an outrageous love, and has all power and ability to help mold and shape people into the image and likeness of Jesus, and you can partner with God in the process of others or be a negative roadblock/detour in their journey that is painful and unnecessary. We correct and redirect when necessary, but it is always with a heart that longs to see people restored and loved through whatever process they need to go through.
Partner with God, speak life, do what is right, and love them with the love of Christ.
Love you family!
Danny R. Barragan Jr.