People follow leaders. One of the greatest accolades a leader can have is when someone says ‘I did what I thought you would do’. To hear this is indeed very humbling yet it also adds weight to the burden of responsibility leaders have to be good role models.
The pioneering church planter and former disciple-hater and murderer Paul was not afraid to urge people to imitate him (1 Corinthians 4 v 16), yet he must have been abundantly aware that there was much in his former life he didn’t want people to imitate and he must have been aware that in his old life he himself had caused much pain and suffering in peoples’ lives. The only way Paul and the disciples could have journeyed on from this is is in the arms of forgiveness which Paul first experienced on the road to Damascus.
Forgiveness is a precious gift and characteristic we leaders can model as we choose to acknowledge our own failings and the pain we may have caused others and ask for forgiveness. It is also something we can model as we daily make choices to forgive those who have let us down and as we forgive ourselves for not always being the people we seek in our hearts to be.
Who knows, maybe one day someone will say that they forgave a person because they knew that’s what we would do…? JK