Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.Matthew 5:7
“The Resistance” Beatitudes Study Guide Lesson 5: Compassion for Those We Lead
To be merciful is to show forgiveness and restraint even when it is within your power to punish. A Godly leader expresses forgiveness with the intention of building up and restoring those who have failed, based on the grace God first showed us. Our demonstrations in this area will determine how others view us as leaders and set the tone (good or bad) for all future interactions.
Below are two leadership styles which produce equally horrible results:
- Compliance (All law) focuses solely on punishment and does not promote growth. A leader that operates in this fashion will only achieve resentful results, as well as having to uncover landmines from mistakes that were hidden due to unrealistic expectations and fear. Leaders who exhibit a lack of forgiveness towards those in their stewardship will never experience true loyalty.
- Complacency (All grace) does not produce responsibility or accountability, nor does it encourage effort or growth. The danger here is backsliding when you are viewed as a buddy. Leaders who choose to dwell here are not able to produce positive results which means fewer victories.
Trying to marry these two qualities seems almost like a magic trick, a delicate balance that only a few have managed to achieve and even fewer have maintained. We are not expected to perform this miracle alone and within our own power. The best we could hope to achieve would be a couple of hours or even minutes under ideal conditions and everyone was having a great day. Just imagine how difficult it would be when everything is falling apart…
We have to understand that those we lead are humans and are going to fall short of expectations at times. We have to take responsibility when those we lead fall and teach them how to stand back up and learn from their mistakes and recover. We have to learn how to exhibit law and grace at the same time.
The way we do this is to be reminded of just how much God has forgiven us. And if you do not feel you have had to be forgiven much along your journey, I ask that you re-examine the validity of your perception of yourself…
Our proclivity as sinners is to develop memory loss after we have sinned and asked forgiveness. We wipe our own slate clean and seem to forget that Christ had to die to pay our debt. That same payment was not only made on your behalf, one time in middle school when you cheated on a test. To exhibit mercy truly, we must be aware of our own deficiencies. This allows us to show that same grace to others.
Character in Action (Beatitudes Study Guide Homework)
Read Luke 6:37-38 and discuss the following questions.
- If the golden rule was to be enforced at this very moment, would you be worried?
- What is the biggest sin you can think of that you are grateful that God has forgiven you for?
- Is unforgiveness sabotaging your efforts in your selected area? Who do you need to forgive and why?
Holy Father in heaven, only You know the hearts of everyone, even when we do not even know the heart of ourselves. I humbly ask that you forgive us for our unforgiveness of others even when they do not ask for it. We thank You for paying our debt, while we were still sinners, a debt that we could not pay. Please give us hearts to show those around us Your grace that they may draw near to You. In Your Son’s holy name, amen.
For more information or to purchase The Resistance, please visit:
If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area, join us for an addiction recovery class. Click for more information on attending a First Contact Ministries support group for individuals or families struggling with addiction issues.
Did you miss the other lessons? Click see the entire Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Study Guide.