My wife @devotedjoy gave me a mug that says, “I put the PRO in Procrastination”. HOLD ON… This is not a post about procrastination, but, every time I procrastinate, I am saying something. I am saying, “I don’t expect anything to delay me or keep me from accomplishing this task because I don’t make mistakes, and bad things don’t happen to me.” This is one way I act as if perfect, but when I refuse to leave margin in my life, I always let someone down.
Of course it so easy to just turn around and say, “sorry, I’m not perfect” while trying to exude the trendy “authentic” feel. If there was no effort to do the right thing, then admitting imperfection doesn’t make you authentic! It merely shows a lack of care. The real “authentic” thing for me to say would be, “honestly, I messed up because I was acting as if I was perfect and did not care enough about you or the circumstance to consider the consequences of that not being true.”
However, if I knew I wasn’t perfect, why would I continue to act like it? Could it be pride? Arrogance perhaps? No one likes to be wrong, fail, or mess up. Could the addiction to receiving grace and being authentic in the Christian culture perpetuate the problem? The apostle Paul said, “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15). Authenticity and grace are not to be leaned on as a substitute for righteous living.
By no means am I saying grace should not be given to people who make mistakes, we should always be ready to grant grace, but seldom, if ever, should we require as much grace as we are granting. As leaders, if we are expecting others to give us grace because “we are not perfect people,” then the people we are leading will get tired. Imagine grace as the lifeblood of a person’s motivation. As a leader, giving them grace motivates and encourages them, but when a leader requires grace, the lifeblood is sucked from them. Simply saying, “I am not perfect” only continues the drain. Why? Because we should be following Christ in such a way that gives others something to follow. We should be examples, living exemplary lives just as Paul encouraged the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NASB).
Does the church or organization you are leading struggle to keep volunteers or staff? Are apathy, lack of motivation, and life in your organization an issue? Ask yourself what the grace balance looks like. Are you requiring more than you are giving?
Here it is: Every leader must consider what behaviors, actions, and habits they regularly exhibit that require grace. Then, they must be honest and authentic as they recognize these things and move towards fixing those things. Perhaps a counselor, coach, or mentor is needed.
Every leader makes mistakes, and no one is perfect, but for a leader, and honestly, this is true for everyone, the effusion of grace on others must exceed the demand of grace by the leader. There is no more exceptional example than Christ.
The grace God gives is the ultimate forgiveness of sin that provides us with an eternal relationship with God, which no man or woman could ever give. Humanly, we can give grace in the form of forgiveness too, but that grace can only restore a relationship between humankind.
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
I Peter 1:13-16 NASB