Our department was downsizing and it was getting ugly. In fact, other managers and employees were jockeying for their offices and positions. One manager, Mark had been duped and no longer met the qualifications for an office. He was fairly new and did not realize the policy that determined the decision, while a long time manager had kept her office. He was hot, he had been tricked, treated unfairly and now was resentful. Many times, we have similar experiences or witness others with like situations. How we react, both internally and how we react to those we lead is important and says a lot about our leadership.
I believe an Old Testament character, Joseph, experienced a similar but much harsher reality. He had been wronged by his brothers and sold as a slave, falsely accused and imprisoned, and then forgotten when he interpreted the dreams. It is a well know story, his favored son status transitioned to pit, to prison, then to palace. But it gets interesting when his brothers end up coming to Egypt, seeking food from Joseph, now second in command only to Pharaoh. He could have sought revenge for the pain his brothers caused in his life. He could have sent them away without meeting their basic needs. Instead Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and forgives them by bearing the cost of their sins. Later he says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 58:20). Joseph’s willingness to forgive, allows provision for his family and because of his actions we read his story today.
In case you are wondering, Mark not only lost his office, he lost his position, as well. At first he was very angry, but after a period of time, moved on and was able to let it go. He found another job in management and liked the new job better.
Do you allow the people you lead to move on with their lives? As a leader, do you forgive or hold grudges? Joseph was willing to forgive and bear the cost of someone else’s offense. As a leader, we must practice forgiveness it release others and it releases us.
* I want to thank the Point Man’s Group at Triangle Christian Community for allowing me to share Unearthing Forgiveness with them today.