Personal Qualities Every Leader Needs: Tough Skin/Soft Heart

›“A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”   Proverbs 19:11

1362214_african_elephant_trunk_hand_2If you are in ministry or other type of leadership and  you get easily offended, you will be offended all of the time.  People say goofy things and do goofy things.  People sometimes choose to let the church be the place they express frustrations and stress from other areas of their lives.  Sometimes people just disagree with us. Sometimes people just forget their manners.  In other words, people are just people and as leaders, we catch the good and the bad.

The key here is to remember who you work for.  God is who you are ultimately responsible to.  And He has got your back.  When you are insulted or frustrated, give those over to Him.  By faith in Him, give people the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t mean to sound as mean as they just did.  By faith in Him, choose to believe the best in people.  By faith in Him, choose to let offenses go rather than dwell on them.

God still calls us to have a soft heart towards others.  Even when we are in a season of ugly.

› “And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 36:26

How do you develop tough skin but maintain a soft heart?  The good news is that God provides it for us.  He tells us that we have the whole Armor of God available to us to protect us.  Remember, our struggle is not with flesh and blood.  Though it may be a person who hurts your feelings, treat it as a spiritual issue.  Remember the things that He provides to protect us:

Belt of› Truth – surround yourself with the truth of His Word and choose His truth over others’ words.

Breastplate of Righteousness – protect your heart by being who Jesus has called us to be.  Live your life and make decisions based on His leading.  And remember that ultimately it is His righteousness, not anything that we can do on our own.

› –  Shoes of Gospel of peace – seek His peace over hurt feelings.  Choose peace over resentment.  Seek the purpose of His gospel over the offense.

› –  Shield of Faith – Believe in God.  Believe that He is in control and in the grand scheme of His plan, the person’s offense is not even a blip on the radar.

› –  Helmet of Salvation – Protect your mind by remembering that your value is not determined by your popularity of the moment.  Your value is in the fact that Christ died for you and that your salvation is secure in Him.

›-  Sword of the Spirit/Word of God – People’s opinions are not truth.  God’s Word is truth.  Line up others’ opinions with what Scripture says.  Fill your heart and mind with His word so that there isn’t a whole lot of room for people’s negativity or unrequested opinions.

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