Words of Hope: Forgiveness as a Healing Force

Dad loved servant leadership. One beautiful definition Dad would have loved from Dr. Marleen Ramsey, who writes, “Servant leadership is an ethical perspective of leadership that identifies key moral behaviors that leaders continuously demonstrate to lead with legitimate power.”

For Dad, one of the critical moral behaviors he wanted as a leader was the willingness to ask forgiveness. Very few leaders do this well. When I was a younger coach, Dad was getting fired up. I felt he was a bit too aggressive toward one of the staff members, so I interrupted him, and he snapped back. After the meeting, I came up to him and said I didn’t like our interaction at the staff meeting and told him he had hurt my feelings. He immediately said without any defensiveness or explanation, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Jennifer. I love you so much, and I will work on this. Please forgive me for being short and aggressive toward you and others.”

He then went throughout the campus, locating coaches at the staff meeting to ask their forgiveness. Most were shocked. It didn’t seem to them that large of an issue for him to ask forgiveness. Dad told them he asked forgiveness because it is the right thing to do, it honors what the other person sees about our faults, and it restores life to the relationship. 

I loved my Dad’s absolute bravery to be willing to model forgiveness asking as a way of leading. 

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:1-3