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LEADERSHIP FAITH AND FORGIVENESS GOES HAND IN HAND

Close-up photo of a mustard seed.

CLOSE UP PHOTO OF A MUSTARD SEED

LEADERSHIP FAITH AND FORGIVENESS GOES HAND IN HAND

Leaders are trained equipped and prepared to lead at all times. Jesus was a real leader, and he demonstrated his ability to lead in everything that he did. Jesus never hesitated to tell his followers that he wanted all or nothing. If indeed, Jesus said that their love for him needed to be so great that all other human relationships would be pale by comparison. While only Jesus qualifies for that kind of devotion, we can learn from Jesus that skilled leaders do not blank when urging others to count the costs. They know that no follower who has a halfhearted commitment will ever become a leader. Jesus demonstrated his ability to lead despite the strong opposition against him, that we too can do the same if we follow in Jesus footsteps.

Jesus also made it clear that a conflict should be handled personally, privately and with a forgiving spirit.  The disciples thought that such an act of forgiveness would require an added measure of faith, but Jesus taught them that they needed only to use the faith they already processed. Even a little faith in God would unleash enough power to uproot a tree. God has the power to uproot anger and bitterness.  He says, “Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. So if your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him.  And even if he sin against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).” (Luke 17:3-4 AMP)

Careful leadership is important for Jesus followers, but so is constant forgiveness. When there is sin among God’s people, they are responsible to rebuke one another. To “rebuke” does not mean to point out every sin, for Jesus also warns against being judgmental. To “rebuke” (always in love) means to bring sin to a person’s attention with the purpose of restoring that person to God and to fellow humans. In context here, and this refers to sin that could put that person or others away from God, and thus result in the horrible judgment Jesus spoke of in Luke 17:2. When a person feels that he are she must rebuke another Christian for a sin, it is wise for that person to check his or her attitudes and motivations first. Unless rebuke is tied to forgiveness, it will not help the sinning person.  Jesus explained, in fact, that if the other person repents, the rebuker must forgive. And that forgiveness extends constantly.

The disciples told Jesus, “We need more faith.” Jesus did not directly answer the question because the amount of faith is not as important as its genuineness. What is faith? It is dependence on God and a willingness to do his will.  “And the Lord answered, If you had faith (trust and confidence in God) even [so small] like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be pulled up by the roots, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.”  (Luke 17:6 AMP).

A mustard seed is small, but it is alive and growing. Like a tiny seed, a small amount of genuine faith in God will take root and grow. The apostle did not need more faith; a tiny seed of faith would be enough, if it were alive and growing.

Jesus pointed to a nearby mulberry tree and said that even small faith could uproot it and send it into a sea. Mulberry trees grow quite large as high as 35 feet. Matthew’s gospel records a similar teaching when Jesus said that a mountain could be told to throw itself into the sea. It is the power of God, not faith, that uproots trees and mountains, but faith must be present for God to work. Even a small seed of faith is sufficient. There is great power in even a little faith when God is there.

Now here is how faith is described in Hebrews, “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” (Hebrew 11:1AMP)

Those who do not have faith cannot see pass the physical world around them. They are limited by their said temporal circumstances and are blind to what God is doing. Nevertheless, those who open their spiritual eyes can see the spiritual realities, which transcend this world. There hope is in God’s strength and in his faithfulness. In that hope, they find the strength to endure. When it comes to faith, the world scoffs. Faith, at best, seems like a great waste; at worst, it seems almost suicidal. Do we really want to give up the pleasure to have this world for something elusive and ethereal?

Faith is never easy. However, the more convinced we are of the reality of an all-good, all-powerful God, the more I have trust will grow, and the less we will be overwhelmed, by doubts and temptations.

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