The Way I Respond as a Leader of Leaders

I often get asked about the difference between leading leaders and leading followers. It’s a great question. The question ultimately points to a paradigm of leading people.

I certainly know I want to attract and retain leaders on our team. I don’t want a bunch of people waiting for me to make a decision or who fail to take initiative. I ultimately want people who will lead me. 

I also realize I am not a perfect leader. I have so much room to personally grow as a leader. One thing I have discovered, however, is the difference in how I lead if I want to lead leaders. And, the difference is huge.

I could choose to be a boss – and simply require people to perform for pay. To lead leaders requires a different skill set. It challenges the way I lead. 

As a leader of leaders…

I say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to find out” a lot. I can’t have all the answers. I need to be leading people – encouraging them to lead – more than I’m instructing people.

I often “didn’t know about that” – whatever “that” is – until after a decision has been made. And, if I’m leading well you won’t hear me say anything negative about what I don’t know, because I support my team’s ability to make decisions.

I encourage learning from someone besides me. After all, I don’t have all the answers. Some days, without my team, I don’t have any.

I let people make mistakes. And, I’m glad they let me make some too. It’s one of the best ways we learn from life and each other.

I try to steer discussion more than have solutions. And, I find meetings become more productive. Work becomes more efficient.

I believe in dreams other than my own. People have opinions and ideas. The best ones aren’t always mine.

I say “we” more than I say “me”. (Except in this post) A team is more powerful than an individual effort.

I strive to empower more than I control. Leadership stalls when we try to determine the outcome. It thrives when we learn and practice good delegation.

I’m not afraid of being challenged by those on our team. I’m not saying it “feels good” to be critiqued, but I know it’s a part of making us better.

I seldom script the way to achieve the vision. In fact, I never script it alone. I try to always include those who have to implement the plan into the creation of the plan. And, by experience, it seems to be a more effective way to do things.

Do you lead leaders? What would you add?

5 Ways Ministry Leaders Start the Journey to Failure

One of the hardest things I do in ministry is interact with those who are no longer in ministry, but wish they were. They’ve been derailed. They messed up and either they got caught or the guilt got the best of them and they confessed.

In recent years, I’ve had numerous ministry friends who lost their ministry due to moral failure, poor leadership, or simply burnout.

You should know I’m huge proponent for applying grace. I do not believe failure has to define a person indefinitely. The reality is, however, we lose good, effective ministry leaders because they begin to make dumb mistakes. It breaks my heart. If there were any way to stop it – or minimize it – I would certainly try to do so.

That is the point of this post.

Watching this process over the years there appear to be some common reasons failure occurs. It doesn’t start at the failure. It starts months – and, perhaps years – prior. My hope is if we expose some of them we can catch a few people before it is too late.

So, let me ask, do any of these apply to you?

Here are the 5 ways leaders start to fail:

Thinking it couldn’t happen to me.

I have heard this so many times. The leader thinks they are fool proof. They don’t believe the statistics include them. They don’t need the accountability of others. Their marriage is secure. The things which tempt others don’t tempt them. 

Can I be a word of caution? It can. It can. It can. Yes, even to you! Should I remind you the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion?
Refusing to listen to others.

In my experience, God will attempt to rescue those in jeopardy. Refusing to listen to oth re often dismisses the voice of God. When a leader closes his or herself from the counsel of others they are essentially putting out a welcome mat for temptation to overtake them. 

Do you need to heed wise counsel? 

Overestimating personal value.

Pride goes before the fall. Oh, how true this warning from Scripture has been proven to me over the years. Whenever I think too highly of myself I set myself up for failure. Those who seek their own applause get phony claps.

Be honest, do you see yourself as better, smarter, or more valuable than those you lead? Do you think you’re irreplaceable? 

Underestimating the value of others.

Prior to a fall leaders often become guarded in what they release to others. They are over-protective. They attempt to control outcomes. They dismiss the opinions of people on their team. 

Do you realize the worth of a team? Do you understand the value other people bring to the table? Do you solicit advice? 

You’re on a slow fade.

Failure never starts at the bottom or really even experiences a free fall. It’s a gradual decline over time. It’s allowing temptation to become” little” sin and a bunch of “little” sins to become a “big” sin. 

Have you begun to make excuses for some of your behaviors? Have you drifted from some of your normal healthy disciplines? When you compare your life today to even a year ago – do you  see a slow fade occurring?

Those are a few signs I’ve seen of a coming failure. 

Do you need the warning?

I can also remind you – You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. No temptation has seized you except what’s common to man. When tempted, God provides a way out. 

Perhaps this post is one way God will attempt to get your attention. 

I’m hopeful you’ll find a safe place to get help if needed. It would be better to make yourself vulnerable than to allow yourself to be a statistic. 

Stop Seeing the Bible as a Reference Book

A guest post by Chandler Vannoy

Dictionary.

Thesaurus.

Encyclopedia.

We all know what these are. These are all reference books, and a reference book is only used when you need to use it as a source to make a point. The definition reads, “a book intended to be consulted for information on specific matters rather than read from beginning to end.“It’s a source that we pull up when we need to back up a point or further clarify what we are trying to say.

And this is exactly how many of us treat the Bible, simply as a reference book.

We see it as a resource in our pocket to be searched when we are trying to win an argument. As a book of inspiration to post on social media. Or as a book we consult on specific matters but have never thought about reading beginning to end. And this is a dangerous habit for us to fall into.

Why? Because we need to see the Bible not as a book to be referenced, but as a book to be lived, and then let our life be saturated by it. It should be the source of life for us. Not a source that we footnote or cite to make a point.

Honestly answer this question: how do you mainly interact with the Bible?

Do you pull a verse here and there to tweet or Instagram?

Do you Google for a verse every now and then to back you up in an argument?

Or do you daily read it to soak it up and let it transform the way you live?

I promise, this is not a gotcha type of question. I only ask this question to you, because I recently asked the same question to myself. And when I answered it, it made me realize that I had not made the Word of God a big enough of a priority in my life.

It is so easy in our “information at our fingertips” lifestyle to go about our day and simply see the Bible as a reference book that supplements our lives when it is convenient to us or we have a question to be answered. And when we do this, we are missing out on the true riches of Scripture. As Matt Chandler would, “We are adults playing around in the kiddie pool of faith.”

After being convicted of this myself, I found a few ways to get past this type of thinking:

1. Simply, read the Bible daily.

The greatest way to get out of the habit of seeing the Bible as a reference book is to make a daily habit of reading, studying, and applying it to your life. This will cause Scripture to be in your mind and vocabulary constantly rather than just as a reference. It will begin to flood your mind throughout the day, so you are thinking about it not just when you need to defend something, but in every decision that you make.

2. Before you share a verse, read the whole chapter for context.

Sadly, often when we share Bible on Instagram or Twitter, we morph Scripture to fit into our life rather than fitting our life into Scripture. Because of this, we’ll take verses out of context and post them as inspiration even if that is not what the original author intended.

One example is Jeremiah 29:11, you know, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” We love to post this one in hard times, like right after a break up or unexpected job change, but we end up using a verse as inspiration that the author was writing to show God’s judgment to His people.

3. Create a habit of memorizing Scripture

Memorizing Scripture is normally thought of as a super-spiritual habit. But it should be seen as essential for all believers. Think about this, we can memorize lyrics to a song, but we don’t have the capacity to memorize God’s Word? Yeah right. It’s just that we don’t focus on it, so we allow our minds to be filled more with culture’s influence than the Spirit’s influence. But when we memorize Scripture, we are keeping a reference book of the Bible in our mind. When we draw from it, we aren’t looking it up, but rather we are drawing it out from a past reading or devotion.

What are some ways you have made Scripture more of a priority in your life?

Chandler Vannoy is the Brand Manager for LifeWay Leadership. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is now pursuing his Masters of Divinity at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He loves the NBA, C.S Lewis, and good coffee. Connect with him on Twitter: @chandlervannoy.

The 10 Commandments of Social Media

A guest post from my son, Jeremy Chandler

This is a guest post from my son, Jeremy Chandler. Currently, Jeremy serves as a Marketing Manager at Pursuant, a fundraising agency serving the nation’s leading nonprofits, faith-based ministries, and churches. He and his wife Mary live in Nashville, TN. If you’re in the area, he jumps at any opportunity to connect with people over coffee.

Social media provides churches with an incredible opportunity to reach more people and create deeper, more meaningful connections with people in the pew. But, when you combine the various ways churches can use it and challenges around what to post, many churches are still either hesitant to use social media or are using it poorly and not seeing any positive results.

So how do you use social media effectively for ministry? Based on the way churches are effectively using social media today, here are 10 “commandments” to help guide your strategy.

The 10 Commandments of Social Media

1. Be Human

We all agree that the Church is made up of people, not buildings. However, one of the temptations when using social media for ministry is to create a persona around your ministry rather than people. Instead of simply using social media as a platform to share what your church is doing, find ways to humanize your ministry.

2. Be Positive

Take a scroll through your newsfeed and count how many posts are rooted in anger, pessimism, arrogance, or other negative stances. One of the greatest opportunities your church has when it comes to social media is to be a light in a place that’s becoming increasingly dark. Every time you post something consider, “Is this adding value and positivity to the people we’re trying to reach?”

3. Be Remarkable

Creating compelling, visual images or video content is an increasingly important trend for churches. Even if you don’t have a designer on staff, there are tools like Canva, Legend, and Facebook Ad tools that make creating images and videos easy for the rest of us.

4. Be Strategic

How can you use it to reinforce your ministry vision? How can you use it to create excitement or anticipation for an upcoming project or sermon series? And maybe most importantly of all, how can you leverage the content you’re already creating (i.e. – your weekly sermon) to distill and disseminate via social media throughout the week? These are all valuable questions to help your church be more strategic in its approach to social media.

5. Be Present

Social media shouldn’t be one person’s responsibility. One of the easiest ways to increase your social influence is to equip and encourage your staff to leverage their social presence for ministry.

6. Know Your People

Don’t feel like you need to be present on every social network. Instead, ask yourself, “Who is your church trying to reach? What channels are they using? How are they using it?” Then look for ways to apply some of the other social media commandments there.

7. Encourage User Generated Content

One of the best ways to maximize social media for ministry is to create a culture where church members are creating the content. Ask questions that create conversations. Share stories from people in the pew who are doing ministry. Create a Twitter hashtag for your Twitter sermon that prompts people to share.

8. Market Your Social Presence

If you want people to engage with your ministry online, printing social media icons in your bulletin can’t be the only way you market your social presence. Instead, look for other ways to promote your social channels from the platform.

9. Reinforce Relationships & Discipleship

Effective discipleship requires more than one hour on a Sunday morning. However, continuing the conversation on social media throughout the week is an incredibly effective way to lead people to deeper conversations. This might include sharing your message notes throughout the week or hosting a Facebook Live Q&A to take questions about Sunday’s sermon.

10. Develop a Social Media Policy

Defining what’s appropriate to post and how you will handle any negative situation on the front end is critical. If you’re starting from scratch, here are a few social media policy examples to get you started.

Like everything else your church does, social media is simply another tool to help people grow closer to Jesus. It’s not a silver bullet. But, when you use these commandments to guide your strategy, you’ll be surprised at how it can help you reach more people, increase engagement in your community, and lead people deeper in their commitment to Christ.

What else would you add to the list?

Mother: What a Great Word!

Demonstrating love in so many ways.

Mother

Is there a sweeter word in the English language?

Maybe your word is:

Mom

Maybe your word is:

Momma

Or, many of the tousands of words in any other language which comes with the same deep meaning and emotion.

Unconditional love.

Sacrificial giving.

Forgiving easily.

Striving to provide perfect environments for others.

Incredible patience.

Strength beyond measure.

Always believing the best from and for her children.

A model and teacher of compassion.

Skilled for laughing at kid jokes – even those which aren’t even funny.

Accepting of others.

Stability during chaos.

A tender touch and a firm hug that never lets go – even when no longer physically together.

Mother

I’m always reminded of the mother’s heart who doesn’t have children of her own, but who displays the applied meaning of the word every single day.

Thank God for the mothers of the world.

What do you think of when you hear the word mother?

10 Ways to Keep the “Favorite” Pastor Hat

I read somewhere leadership expert Peter Drucker once said the hardest jobs in America (not necessarily in order) are President of the United States, university presidents, hospital administrators and pastors. I don’t know about most of those, but I talk to struggling pastors weekly. I can believe it makes the list.

Having been in the business and political worlds, and now as a pastor, I have a unique perspective. I can definitely say the hardest job I’ve ever done is being a pastor.

Yet every pastor I know wants to do a good job. They want to be successful in their Kingdom-building efforts. At the same time, they also want to be liked. No one likes to be unpopular. (Frankly, the desire to be so can even be the detriment in a pastor leading well.)

I was actually talking recently with another pastor how hard it is to pastor effectively and make everyone happy. He admitted he was a people-pleaser and I was telling him how impossible this will be long term. To illustrate the point in a humorous way, we began to cite examples of ways to keep people happy. It triggered this post.

So let me say this is written sarcastically. On purpose. Sometimes it’s easier to say the hard stuff if I say it in a humorous way. (Or at least what I think is funny.)

There are some serious issues addressed here that many pastors face. But, after all, I want to be the favorite pastor too, so I’m keeping it lighthearted in my approach.

In fairness, I serve in a healthy, supportive church. Most of what I write now is to support other pastors who may not be. 

Here are 10 ways to remain favorite pastor:

Never turn down a social invitation – Sacrifice your family time. Sacrifice any actual Sabbath. (That command applies to your church, you should teach it, but you’re exempt.) By the way, it might ruin your family dynamic but you’ll keep the church happy.

Don’t talk about money – Jesus never did, right? Don’t be meddling in people’s business.

Never mention sex – Good Christians don’t. They just don’t. They don’t even think about it.

Stick to the sins everyone else is doing – Stick to things which the world is struggling with – outside the church. Don’t mention things like gossip or gluttony. Those hit too close to home.

Don’t challenge anyone. – People don’t want their toes stepped on and definitely don’t want to leave with homework. Don’t make them think how the message impacts them after they leave.

Preach “feel good” messages. – Tell them things like God is going to keep their life problem-free and how they can name it and claim it.

Wear the right clothes – Dress like Jesus did, right?

Don’t mess with traditions – Especially the ones which were started by pastor so and so. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And, it ain’t broke if they are still comfortable with it.

Play everyone’s favorite music – Every Sunday. (You miracle worker.)

Don’t lead – just preach – Give your “best” message every Sunday, and don’t take people anywhere new. Change is never popular.

On a serious note – pastoring is a tough job, but remember, our calling is not to be popular. It’s to be obedient. And, not to a crowd, but to a King.

And, when we are obedient, it’s the best job ever! (Every job is when we are in the center of His will.)

Ever tried to be a favorite pastor? Do you have any you’d add?

You’ve Been Fired from the Pastorate – What Now?

7 Suggestions

I’m at that point in my ministry where I feel like I’d rather cut grass for a living than serve Christ as a preacher of His gospel. That’s just not healthy. But that’s where I am.

Wow! I’ll never forget receiving this text from a young pastor. A few  deacons had asked him to “consider” resigning or they would bring a vote before the church.

In my opinion they didn’t have the guts to actually fire him. They know they probably didn’t have enough votes at the church level. But, he loves the church, and didn’t want to cause division, so he did what he felt was the right thing and stepped away gracefully.

Of course, there are always issues on both sides, but church can be brutal on a pastor at times. 

What do you do when the church fires you? Or, when the proverbial rug is pulled out from under you?

Here are 7 suggestions:

Assess how you got here.

What happened? You probably already know to a certain extent, but it’s good to evaluate. Where did you push too hard? Who did you cross you shouldn’t have? What was the actual line you crossed? You may not change anything if you had it do over, but this will help you as you move into another position at some point.

Own your mistakes.

If you can’t admit you made some, you may have bigger problems. There are always things you could’ve done better. Own your junk. Admit your failures. These are the best teaching tools you will ever have for future development.

Contact some friends.

You’ll be tempted to keep to yourself It may be embarrassing, but you need people around you. It’s easier to hide. You need people who will look deep into your heart and speak into your soul. Obviously, you should have these people developed before you get into the situation, but either way, you have to have an outlet for your current emotions.

Protect your family.

There will be rumors and half-truths and speculation and gossip. It’s what people do. As much as possible protect your spouse and children from it. Important caveat – don’t shelter your spouse from you. 

Rest and receive grace.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”(Hebrews 4:16) One of the worst things you could do is to step back into something immediately without giving your heart a chance to heal. 

Network while you figure out what’s next.

And, next may be taking a season to heal. Or simply finding a healthy church to be a part of for a while. (I have loved being a part of churches were dozens of pastors I have “hung out” while they prepared for the next season of ministry.) There are healthy churches, which will help you during this season. this is the time to contact your network of other pastors. Don’t be bashful, and don’t be too proud. Be honest with where you are and ask for help finding your next position. You may need to take a secular job for a while. Whatever you do, make sure you take adequate time to think through next steps.

Begin again – in God’s timing.

This is the great advantage of grace. There is an opportunity to begin again. Read the story of the prodigal son. Remind yourself of David’s failures. Read the reconciliation of Peter with Jesus. If God has called you He has not given up on His call. Your next season may look different, but He still has great work for you to do.

The ministry can be brutal. So can people in the church be. If you are a casualty in ministry, please know there are people who care, and your best days may be ahead of you yet.

7 Secrets to Staying Sane In Church Revitilization

I am on the “other side” so-to-speak of church revitalization. Our church has not only stabilized, we’ve been blessed with healthy growth again. The first few years were hard. I’ve told people, with over 35 years in leadership, these were some of the hardest years of my career.

Now, I have the opportunity to speak to dozens of pastors attempting revitalization every year. Some are successful. Some aren’t.

From my personal experience and walking with others, I have learned there may be a few secrets to lasting through the hard days of revitilization.

Here are 7 secrets to staying sane in church revitilization:

Dogmatically protect my time.

Established churches will eat your calendar quickly if you’re not intentional about it. I needed to focus my energies in the right places. There will always be interruptions, but I have to have sufficient time to plan, meditate on the Scriptures, and prepare for Sunday. Also I knew I needed to be strategically investing in our staff and key leaders of the church.

Someone else controls my calendar.

This helps protect the first one. Someone else has an easier time saying no. And, no is said a lot. In order to be strategic, frankly it can be several weeks sometimes before you could get on my calendar. This was simply a reality of being in a large church and trying to be strategic with my time. Thankfully, we have lots of pastors who can assist people in their moments of need, and again, they’re always interruptions even in my own schedule. I realize many pastors don’t have other pastors to rely on, but many of the requests I received could even be handled by a volunteer.

Don’t cower to the few bullies.

This one is huge. There are always a few people who will try to derail anything positive taking place. Some people don’t like change. Let me correct that – most people don’t like change, especially if it makes them personally uncomfortable. You can’t allow a few people to dictate the direction of the church. There were actually times I had to schedule a meeting just to confront someone who was stirring rumors or gossip about the church or my leadership.

Save encouragements.

I have a file where I save encouraging notes and emails. This was so incredibly helpful in the days where there seemed to be more negativity than there was positive encouragement. Reading through this file reminds me of the people who support what we are doing. And, in my experience, people complain faster and more fluently then they take the time to encourage.

Pick battles carefully.

Some things are simply not worth the fight. Plus, I didn’t want to steal the culture from the church in the process of revitalizing it. Not everything needed changing and some things I could live with even if they never did.

Pace myself.

I can’t do everything in a day, month or even year. I tried to focus on no more than two or three objectives at a time. Usually these were major changes we needed to make and we took a year to make most of them. Church revitalization requires a long term approach.

Slip away frequently.

I knew going in I wanted to protect my marriage and my heart. During the busiest and most stressful seasons Cheryl and I took more time away not less. I was working plenty, but I knew we needed this time to ourselves even when it seemed I couldn’t possibly find time to be gone. These times refueled me to continue the journey.

Those are a few secrets I’ve learned. Are you attempting or have you attempted revitalization? Any suggestions?

7 Things Forgiveness IS…

I often wonder if the reason we don’t forgive as we should is because we don’t understand the subject well enough.

Yesterday I posted 7 Things that Forgiveness is NOT. It seems appropriate to also post 7 things that forgiveness IS. I should warn someone. The previous post was easier to write – and probably read – than this one. Especially if you are the one having to offer forgiveness.

But, as difficult as forgivesness may be to extend, it is often a most important ingredient in healthy relationships and in being a completely healthy person. 

Here’s to a better understanding of forgiveness.

Here are 7 things that forgiveness IS:

A choice

Granted – it’s a very difficult choice. Forgiveness is never easy. And, the deeper and more frequent the wounds were the harder the choice is to make. In fact, holding on to pain is an easier choice. But forgiveness is a conscious decision made by the injured party. You simply – and, of course not so simply – choose to release the injury and forgive.

Letting go of a right to get even

This is a hard one. You give up the right for revenge when you forgive someone. In the truest sense, it’s a clean slate approach to forgive. In fact, God actually encourages us to hand revenge over to Him – letting things happen in His time which make things right. “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”” (Romans‬ ‭12:19‬ ‭MSG‬‬)

Moving forward

Forgiveness is like saying, “It hurt. I didn’t like it, but I’m moving forward with my life in spite of the pain.” Imagine running the a road race with a sack of potatoes hanging from your neck. Until forgiveness is granted theirs a proverbial weight around your neck. Often the weight is more on you than on the person who did whatever has to be forgiven. The author of Hebrew illustrates that for us also, “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,” (Hebrews 12:1, emphasis mine)

Dropping resentment and grudge

Forgiveness releases the angst towards the person who did the injury. One definition of forgiveness – knowing you really have forgiven someone – is what happens when the person comes to your mind again. If the pain they caused is still the first thought you have about them – you may not have really forgiven them yet. (Now might be a good time to go back and read the first post of what forgiveness is NOT.) 

A step towards healing

Again, forgiveness releases a weight from the injured, which opens the door for emotions to eventually heal. And, it does take time. It’s not an overnight thing, but when true forgiveness occurs most people feel a huge weight released from them immediately and then emotions begin to heal and trust rebuilds over time. 

An opportunity to display grace

There is no greater picture of God’s forgiveness to others than for us to forgive one another. It’s literally being the example of Christ. Paul wrote in Colossians, “bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” (‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬)

The removal of a roadblock

Forgiveness removes the barrier between us and living at peace again with ourselves, others, and God. “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:18‬)

I know these are difficult. I know some of the pain runs deep. I can’t describe it for you adequately, but I can tell you forgiveness IS all it’s claims to be.

As a small story of my personal journey, the hardest person for me to forgive was my dad. He was absentee most of my childhood and I resented it greatly. I didn’t understand why I had to forgive him when he did wrong against an innocent child. One day – and over time – God convicted me. In one moment I chose to forgive him. And, yes, it was a conscious choice I made to release the pain I held against him. I cannot describe the freedom which came to me when I did. It wasn’t really about him at that point – it was about me. (But, that moment changed our relationship and the way I saw my dad from that point forward. I wish he were still alive today to enjoy time together.) 

If you truly want to be free of the hold the injury has on your heart, forgive the one who injured you.

(As I stated in the previous post. This is not a new post. This is one of my most frequented subjects, so there have been others who have used portions of this post and the other one in blog posts and books (some even with permission). If you see others who have posted it prior to me remember I first wrote this a decade ago. I bring it forward because it is such a relevant issue.)

7 Things Forgiveness IS NOT

I have posted and reposted this for over a decade now. (If you see this list elsewhere, I must offer the reminder this is not the first time I’ve put these in print. I simply bring it forward because it remains such an important topic in leadership and life. 

The fact is, we get confused about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Maybe we don’t really know sometimes.

I would contend forgiveness is not an option for the believer. We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. For most of us (all of us if we will admit it), there’s a whole lot of forgiveness which has been extended to us.

Understanding forgiveness doesn’t make it easier to forgive, but it does make it more meaningful – perhaps even tolerable. I believe understanding the process could make us more likely to offer the forgiveness we are commanded to give.

In the next post I will share elements which are true of forgiveness.

In two posts, I want to share what forgiveness is and what it isn’t.

Here are 7 things forgiveness IS NOT:

Forgetting

When you forgive someone your memory isn’t suddenly wiped clean of the offense. I know God can do this – and I’m thankful He can. Honestly, thought, it almost seems forgetting the offense would be the easy way. If we could simply not remember what was done wrong to us by choosing to forgive, who wouldn’t? My suspicion is God wants forgiveness to be more intentional than this.

Regaining automatic trust

You don’t immediately begin to trust the person who injured you when you forgive them. And, if you think about it, that wouldn’t even be logical. Trust is earned, and the person who wronged us must earn trust again.

Removal of consequences

Even though you forgive someone, they may still have consequences to face because of their actions.

Ignoring the offense

You don’t have to pretend nothing happened when you forgive. The reality is an offense was made. Acting like it never occurred only builds resentment and anger.

Instant emotional healing

Emotions heal with time. Some pain runs deep and takes longer to heal. Emotions are not something you can simply choose to control.

Restoring the same relationship

The relationship may be closer than before, but it might not be. One thing is fairly certain – most likely the relationship will never be exactly the same.

A leverage of power

This is huge – and you’ll need to read the next post to fully grasp this one. Granting forgiveness does not give a person power over the person being forgiven. That would violate the entire principle and purpose of forgiveness.

Look for the companion post 7 Things that Forgiveness Is.

Just a note before you get there: This post may have seemed easy, even freeing, but the next one may be more difficult.