I knew I was in the wrong the instant I pressed “send” on my computer. How I wished I could press “undo” and retract that message before it reached the reader’s inbox. Have you ever been there? In this situation, I had laboured over crafting that message, dutifully requested feedback on the draft and even made changes to the wording to strengthen the impact. Still, I knew the moment that the email was transmitted that something was missing. Hours later, I mulled it over in my mind, and prayed about it in my heart. Eventually I realized what was missing. The missing ingredient was grace.
Most leaders can be trained to deliver a difficult speech, manage a crisis, negotiate a deal or even inspire crowds through a grand vision. But being able to communicate with grace, influence through grace and lead graciously is what increasingly distinguishes good leaders from great leaders.
In Colossians 4:6 we are instructed by the Apostle Paul to ensure our speech be always with grace. Two thousand years later this is still solid advice. Today more than ever, our world, our organizations, our churches and our homes can still benefit from graceful speeches, grace-filled interactions and, yes, even graceful social media posts, tweets and emails.
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Lately, I keep being drawn to this grace-filled reminder –
The world is not a gracious place, but it is made endurable—and sometimes even beautiful—by those who incarnate the gospel…Grace wins the day—this day, and every day to come. So stay in grace.”
Adventist Review editor Bill Knott
I am convinced that as leaders who are Christ-followers, one of the most persistent challenges we face is determining how to “stay in grace” in what often appears to be an increasingly “anti-grace” culture. Yet, despite the pressure to conform, we can rise above the culture when we recognize that the highest call on our lives is to incarnate the gospel of Christ.
Friend, for me it took a troubling email message to be reminded of my highest calling. My encouragement to you as you lead, mentor and influence through the many modalities available is to keep in mind that – no matter what – grace always win. So stay in grace.