Jesus was betrayed by one of His leaders in training. He spent three years with Judas, investing in him, training him and giving him every opportunity to contribute with the others. Yet he took the love Christ extended and turned it into rebellion. That must have hurt!
When we serve with or for others, sacrificing and giving our all, we assume their acceptance and support. When we extend ourselves in the service of others we assume a gratefulness for our efforts. It can come as a shock when our efforts are not recognized, appreciated or are overlooked as insignificant. Ouch, that hurts!
What to do when our best efforts are ignored, unappreciated or worse, put down and dismissed by our leaders or supervisors? How do we respond when those we trust disappoint us or show a side of themselves that we assumed and expected better from them? How do we react when we get our feelings hurt or when our expectations of others are not met?
First, it’s time to reset our perspective and expectations of others. There is no perfect leader. We are all people in process. Our leaders are imperfect people and so are we. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on them that they cannot meet. Most are simply doing the best they can with what they have.
Secondly, if there really is a wrong that has been done, go to them privately and explain your hurt and disappointment without casting blame. Decide to forgive them whether they admit wrong and ask for forgiveness or not. And when they ask for forgiveness, give it. Beware of harboring an unforgiving spirit that can turn to a root of bitterness and defile you. (see Hebrews 12:15)
Third, remember that the Lord has placed you in this context and under this leadership. He will not allow anyone to frustrate His good and perfect plans for you. Jacob was cheated by his father-in-law who changed his wages ten times! Yet he testifies that God protected him from harm. (see Genesis 31: 7) Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned. Yet he testifies to his brothers that though they and others meant it for evil, God intended it for good. (Genesis 50:20) Nothing touches us outside of God’s good and perfect will. Rest in Him and His sovereignty in all things – those that feel good and those that don’t.
Lastly, check your attitudes and motives. Are you serving for the reward and recognition you hope to receive? Are you working hard in the hopes of climbing an organizational chart? Are you serving for the praise of others or are you serving Him who never forgets your labor on His behalf? (see Colossians 3:23-24 and Hebrews 6:10)
We all will be disappointed in our leaders and most likely, get hurt – it’s a matter of when, not if. But it is how we respond that can make it a growth and development opportunity for us. How are you doing on your journey and your relationship with your leadership?
PS A Primer for Kingdom Leaders: 100 Reflections for Improving Your Leadership – A collection of 100 of my most popular blogs – compiled, edited and available for FREE download. See Tom’s Books page above to download.