Servant leaders realize the importance of building relationships in every aspect of their lives and their business. The more adept a person is at building relationships, the more influence and potential impact they will have as they lead and serve others.
I have the opportunity to work with many leaders across many industries in many varied situations. A situation I see often is hard feelings when people feel they have been wronged in some fashion. I see relationships deteriorate due to one party being upset with the other.
Examples of this might be a customer not paying their invoices, a vendor not delivering on their commitments, a fellow leader within the organization operating differently than what they would, a boss demoting them for what they feel are unwarranted reasons, or someone on their team just plain making a mistake that was detrimental to the team. These situations can often have such a major impact on leaders that it inhibits clear thinking, positive progress, and can even negatively effect their personal health.
I find there is one way to work through these issues. Look to Jesus as the model – Offer Forgiveness. Forgiveness is giving up resentment when wronged. It is the divinely given ability to change the history of your attitude toward an event or situation.
Forgiving is extremely freeing as you release all resentment you have towards others. It can totally reframe any tenuous situation and allow for positive progress.
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Higher self-esteem
- A positive environment leading to forward progress
This is obviously much easier said than done. Often times we dwell on hurtful events or situations, and grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Continuing to hold a grudge can lead to:
- Anger and bitterness into each relationship and new experience
- Becoming so wrapped up in the wrong that you can’t enjoy the present
- Becoming depressed or anxious
- Feeling that your life lacks meaning or purpose
- Losing valuable and enriching connectedness with others
Asking for forgiveness is every bit as important as granting forgiveness. It is the most basic act of humility. Asking for forgiveness is admitting you were wrong and asking for a fresh start. It takes boldness and courage to ask for forgiveness.
How are you doing at releasing resentment towards others?
When was the last time you asked for forgiveness when you were wrong?
Keeping forgiveness at the forefront of your thoughts will enhance your ability to build relationships and improve your effectiveness as a servant leader!
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38