Posted On May 1, 2015

cross_sunset.4.lrA few years ago I read a few books on the life of President Richard Nixon. I have always been interested in American history, especially Presidential history. I’m fascinated by the inside look at leadership at the top levels.

But the one enduring lesson I gleaned from Nixon’s life was his inability to forgive. It ruined his entire leadership. Since he lost to John Kennedy in 1960 in an election that was possibly stolen from him, he vowed to never let anyone steal anything from him again. So even as he won two Presidential elections convincingly, that wasn’t enough. He was convinced all kinds of people were trying to sabotage him. He couldn’t enjoy his success, because he led from bitterness. It’s something that has sort of haunted me since. And now that I have been a leader of a church, am a husband, and a father, bitterness is something I must keep a check on.

The truth is all of us get hurt and hurt deeply, often by people close to us. Often it’s out of nowhere and we are completely blindsided. What do we do with this? Well as Christians we’re commanded to forgive as Christ forgave (Matthew 7:12; Ephesians 4:32). I’ve learned that it’s not so easy. You don’t just hit the Staples Easy button and forgive. It’s a process that God does in you as you draw close to Him. It’s a work the Spirit does in you. It can’t be faked.

Personally I have found it important to be in the Word of God consistently and in tune with good Bible preaching. It’s vital to have God’s Word speak into your soul. It’s also important to surround yourself with other people who won’t let you grow bitter.

Often your friends who stick up for you will want you to sort of fight back and will give you all kinds of excuses to be nasty. These friends don’t help you much. It’s the friends who will listen patiently to you, who will hear your concerns, will be defend you if necessary, but will gently and sometimes forcefully remind you of the duty of a Christian to forgive.

The bottom line is that when we gaze at the cross, we see the effect of our own sin. We see what we’ve done to Jesus Christ. It’s infinitely worse than any abuse I’ve suffered. And yet God through Christ forgave me.

Leaders must model this. We must set the tone, not just in our preaching, but in our conversations. Do we try to continually recruit folks to our side? Do we carry a chip on our shoulder around with us?

As leaders, we are responsible for the cultures we create. And when we lead from bitterness, we create fear, enemies lists, and an overall sense of negativity.

Which is why we must constantly remind ourselves that bitterness destroys. It destroys our own souls and it creates unhealthy spiritual climates for those God has called us to serve.

Related Posts

Andrew Davis-The Glory Now Revealed

Andrew Davis-The Glory Now Revealed

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave and Andy Davis consider why errant views of heaven are popular today, how heaven helps us process grief and loss, and his new book, The Glory Now Revealed (Baker Books, 2021). What you’ll hear in this episode Why we are so...

Leon Morris and the Holy Spirit

Leon Morris and the Holy Spirit

Leon Morris and the Holy Spirit It is not uncommon for great books to fall out of print. After all, who could possibly keep absolutely everything in print that deserves to be read? This is simply an unfortunate reality. Despite this, from time to time, I have the...

In the Fullness of Christ’s Blessing

In the Fullness of Christ’s Blessing

Romans 15:28-29, “When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.” In Romans 15:25-27, we learn that...

What Are You Building? (Black Friday Thoughts)

What Are You Building? (Black Friday Thoughts)

American lifestyles can be a little strange to those of us who live on other continents. I was born in the UK and have lived the last seven years in continental Europe in various parts of Romania. Growing up, we would occasionally hear about the American celebration...

Our Debt to the Jews

Our Debt to the Jews

Romans 15:25-27, “At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. 27 For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share25
Tweet
Email
Reddit
Share