Articles of Faith: On Leadership and Forgiveness

Leadership and Forgiveness

This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.

Have you ever done something stupid? Or wrong. Or illegal? Or immoral? Or with ill-intent to another?

The answer is yes. Yes, you have probably done all of the above. Guilty as charged!

And what was your punishment for your crimes? Well, probably very little for most of them. Most of the time when we do things that are stupid, wrong, illegal, immoral, or done with ill-intent toward another, we rarely see a direct consequence for that behavior.

And as a result, we tend to think that we aren’t such a bad person because we don’t get caught most of the time.

A Judgement Call

And when we go a few decades or more without any major reckoning for our sins, we judge ourselves as generally good, upright, moral, and well-behaved citizens in our community. But unfortunately, we are using an artificial measuring stick to qualify and quantify ourselves. We are not using an authentic means to see just how ugly our behaviors can be.

If you haven’t heard, you are not going to be judged by anything other than perfect righteousness for your behaviors, thoughts, and actions. This means that you are going to be considered an abject failure because you are sooooo far away from being perfect.

But alas, do not worry. A perfect person named Jesus came and paid the perfect toll for you to pass on to perfection when you are held to account. Because Jesus paid the price and provided you a free gift, you have to climb on board the Jesus train and accept the free ride to get the treats.

(…pssst…I would suggest taking his free “get-out-of-jail-card. You’re gonna need it later…)

Now, you may have also heard that if you accept this card, that you will be a changed person on the inside. You will be given some super-cool powers of understanding what forgiveness and grace really means. And when you get knocked-upside-the-head with this realization, you feel an overwhelming need to pass on this perfect present to others.

In most cases, this shows up as something we call forgiveness.


This thing called forgiveness is powerful for you and for those around  you. In fact, it is probably one of the most powerful tools a leader has in his possession. Believe me, if a team of people in a corporate setting would value anything in their leader’s toolbox, a get-out-of-jail-card would be top of the list that team members would want to have available TO THEM. You see, if you take the point-of-view of a team player, you can see that you as a leader have something that they would want from you: forgiveness.

So if you have such a powerful tool, shouldn’t you take a moment and see how you might be able to use it?

Take a look at what Michael Stone says about how forgiveness cam impact an entire organization:

Individual Dyad Team Organization
  • Happiness
  • Presence
  • Creativity / Innovation
  • Vibrant health
  • Autonomy
  • Personal responsibility
  • Peace of mind
  • Authenticity
  • Freedom to self-express
  • Choice
  • Self Assurance
  • Focused
  • Openness
  • Partnership
  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Open / Authentic
  • Communication
  • Supportive
  • Acknowledgment
  • Appreciation
  • Gratitude
  • Ownership
  • Interconnection
  • Respectful
  • Growth
  • Nurturing
  • Mutually supportive
  • Feeling of community
  • Joy / Fun
  • Playfulness
  • Shared learning
  • Interconnection
  • Action orientation
  • Clarity of roles
  • Direction
  • Sense of belonging
  • Open authentic culture
  • Focus on contribution and service
  • Employee retention
  • Flexible work force
  • Respected in the community
  • Empowerment
  • Pride in organization

Even Better

Or, if you think that you creator has something to say about the topic, see this:

Matthew 6:14-15 (New International Version)

14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

And if you think that you might not be bound by this because you are not a believer, then I suggest you test this. You try going a season without a forgiving heart toward others in the workplace and see what happens over time. See how you begin to feel on Sunday nights before a new week at work awaits you the next morning. My guess is that you will feel brutalized during this period.

Then after you are tired of working in such a rotten hell-hole, turn over a new leaf and practice real forgiveness with those you work with. See what happens then. See how things pan out for you and your team and your organization.

My guess is that you will be amazed! And you might even be a believer!!

So, how hard is it to you forgive others? Can you do it for small things that happen occasionally, but not with reoccurring instances of stupidity? What will it take for you to get a grip on when to use justice, mercy, or grace at work? How does creating a forgiving culture add or subtract from your workplace effectiveness? I would love to hear your stories!

Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span
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One response to “Articles of Faith: On Leadership and Forgiveness

  1. Pingback: Instilling Pride: A Key to Eliciting Excellence « Linked 2 Leadership·

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