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Compassionate Leadership

I see your pain and I feel it. I’m frustrated because you’re frustrated. I’m sad because you’re sad. Empathizing with someone in pain, and weeping with them, is one of the most powerful ways to love on them. It’s how you serve them. It’s what Jesus did!

Some leaders say, “You’re looking to me to lead? Okay, then, I’ll lead. I’m going to tell you what you need to do.” That’s not a servant leader. The greatest leaders, like Martin Luther King, Jr., are the ones that inspire people to do something because they want to do it, not because they were told to do it. And the only way to do that is to lead as a servant. and to serve the people who look to you to lead.

When people were around Jesus, they felt their fullness in who they were. It takes a servant leader to do that. People wanted to be around Him, and they looked to Him to lead. But at the same time, He looked back at them, and told them who they were at their greatest. He showed them who they really were, created by God in His image! And when they saw that, they lived their fullest in their humanity.

By looking to Jesus for their example, servant leaders can motivate people the same way. They can give people the ability to look at their challenges and say, “I can do this. I can do this because this person loved me so much and poured so much into me. He didn’t try to take from me. He actually gave back to me.” That’s what Jesus did.

So when Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, Paul is talking about husbands loving on their wives by serving them. Recently, my wife experienced disappointment when a dream of hers unexpectedly crumbled. She’ll get another chance to pursue that dream, and plenty of other dreams too, but that’s not the point. It was that dream, crumbling on that day, that hurt her.

I wanted to be there, as her husband, to love her and serve her. I felt her frustration. I was frustrated because she was frustrated. Obviously I’m not perfect in my flesh, so I didn’t love and serve her exactly like Jesus would have. In fact, I made mistakes. I was serving her, but not always the way that she needed me to.

But she knows my heart. So she gave me a big hug the next morning, and said, “Thank you for being here. I was frustrated, and I know you felt it, and I appreciate you being here. I needed you.”

We can forgive each other when we understand each other’s hearts. This day, and every day, I’m all in for her. I’m trying to figure out how to do that the best way I can, to empathize, to serve, and to let her know that I see who she is when she is at her greatest. I’m learning how to help her feel her fullness in who she is. I am there for her.

That’s how I want to serve my wife. I’m not always going to be perfect, but I can do the best I can.

You have to be able to take on the pains of people and understand where they are at in order to serve them. This is  true for your husband, your wife, your children, your family, and your suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. You can’t serve a person who is hungry, if you don’t understand why they are hungry.

More on this next time. See you Thursday.

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