• dannydavis02

Leadership P.A.I.N.: I is for Initiate

Leadership is messy! But it is also rewarding. The joy of leading people comes with its ups and downs; hurts and pains are just part of the territory. So, when pain comes we point it out, we accept the offender has pain too, and then we initiate reconciliation.

That means you and I take the first step to creating a path of peace with that person or persons. While living in South Africa we saw the initiation process in living color. When Nelson Mandela was elected president there were concerns of retaliation against the previous regime for its many crimes. Mandela, however, took the bold step of creating a process of forgiveness. Mandela recognized his moment to create a different future for South Africa by taking a radical step toward peace

If you and I are going to create a different future, where bitterness and animosity doesn't rule over us, we too must take radical steps toward reconciliation. The first step is always the hardest because it requires an enormous amount of emotional energy. Jesus said, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense" (Mt. 18:15a NLT).

Notice the first step is NOT the responsibility of the offender but the offended. That's tough! That's counter to our current societal love affair with gossip and revenge. It's also counter to the way I was trained as a leader. How many times have I heard something like, "Well,if they aren't with the vision they got to go!"

It's hard to take that step and go to someone because we have deep fear of rejection. Yes, rejection. We've already experienced pain caused by that person. Why would we put ourselves in a position to be hurt again by their possible denial of wrong. So what do we do? We internalize it. We chew on it. We justify avoiding the person. But in reality we are becoming a hostage to the fear of rejection.

Again, the way to get power over that fear is to point it out! You see, before we can "point out the offense" of the other we've got to point out the fear in our own heart. Otherwise when we go to that person the fear will lead us toward revenge and not reconciliation. Fear never takes us where we want to go - fear takes us into the darkness because we've refused to expose it to the light of Christ.

Does that mean the person will fall on their face in repentance before God and accept what you're saying? No! Just read the rest of Matthew 18:15-20. But here is what it means - by working through the fear and facing the offender we find freedom. Freedom to choose our reaction if they do not hear us. Freedom to love them even if they reject our plea for reconciliation. Freedom to do what is right instead of what makes us feel vindicated.

But here is another thought - what if you go to them and they do hear? What if they recognize their actions have wounded you opening the door to reconciliation. Well, because you've faced the fear you still have freedom.

Initiating reconciliation results in freedom because it's not about the final outcome. It's about facing your own fear and taking radical steps toward peace. Jesus reminds us that taking the initiative, facing the fear, and taking action just might result in winning that person back.

So, what is keeping you from taking the first step toward reconciliation with someone? What fear do you need to point out today so that you can have freedom?


Dr. Davis

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