Leadership or Life
Leadership or Life
Do you prefer to be liked and appreciated or would you rather be mistreated? Do you prefer to be understood when you speak or would you rather be misunderstood?
Silly questions, I know. I don’t know anyone who would answer either question in the negative. Sometimes, however, it is the way we treat each other.
Whether it’s everyday life or leadership, how we treat each other is important. You may hear people quote the “Golden Rule,” meaning that we are to do to others as we want them to do to us and we think that will solve the problem. Unless we’re tired or busy or out of sorts for one reason or the other and then that “other person in us” crops up.
Jesus was clear as to how we should live. In fact, much of the New Testament reflects the Great Commandment to Love God and Love Others without stipulation, except for that little tagline on The Great Commandment that we often forget to add. Matthew 22:37-39, says,
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (emphasis added)
If I am to believe God’s Word and I’m to love God with all my heart, soul and mind (all that I am) and then I am to love my neighbor the same way I love myself. Really???
When was the last time you thought about what it means to love yourself? I’m not talking about ego or an over-inflated view of yourself but genuine love and care for yourself. What thoughts come to your mind?
God wisely shared with us, through the Bible, how He feels about us. Listen to what He says in His Word. He reminds us in …
… Jeremiah 31:3 that He loves us with an everlasting love
… Ephesians 3:19 that to know the love of Jesus surpasses knowledge
… John 15:9 that the same way the Father loved Jesus, He loves us
… 1 John 4:8 that in God’s love there is no fear
… Isaiah 54:10 that God’s steadfast love will not depart from us
… Romans 8:35-39 that nothing, absolutely nothing shall separate us from the love of Jesus
There is nothing we can do or say that will change how much the Father loves you and me. If He considers us worthy, then we ought also to love ourselves. When we do that we can then love and lead others effectively.
How does God’s love for us and our love for ourselves and others work in leadership? When I know, really know, that God loves me, it sets me free to love others without reservation. When I remember the person I am, and that the holy, perfect, completely sinless God loves me, I get a “WOW” feeling! When I know what a screw up I can be and say the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong person and remember that I am unconditionally loved by the God who created the world, I’m blown away.
When I remember all that I know about God and that He was willing to sacrifice His one and only Son so that I might be able to have fellowship with Him for eternity, what can I say! I’m humbled and in awe that He would love me like that.
So, if that is all true and I’m a recipient of His great love and grace, how can I not extend that same love and grace to others. This does not mean, however, that I can excuse poor behavior, bad attitude or any other characteristic that does not reflect good character. We are reminded at the end of Romans 12 how to live …
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
If you and I follow the guidelines in this passage, we’ll find that life, leadership and love are immeasurably enhanced.
We’re almost at the beginning of 2018 and while I’m not a fan of resolutions at this time of year, let me encourage you to consider today how much God loves you and some ways that you can begin to express that same kind of love to those you encounter. Don’t start big. Just choose one or two people with whom you can begin. It might be your spouse, your child, your parent, your sibling, your co-worker, your pastor, your mailman, your Starbucks barista and love them unconditionally and see what a difference it makes.
Want 2018 to be different than 2017? Don’t write a resolution – take up the challenge!!
God bless you!