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In this post, let's focus on “grace,” as it is the second essential of authentic leadership. Old Testament grace was defined by the law. New Testament grace is defined by love.

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:16,17).

I love the way Matthew Henry puts it: “He is the true paschal lamb, the true scape-goat… They had grace in the picture; we have grace in the person… The Old Testament had grace in type, the New Testament has grace in truth”—Gospel Grace.

He goes on to write, “That which was given by Moses was purely terrifying and threatening, and bound with penalties, a law which could not give life.”

Here's my observation, one based on 50 something years of ministry, serving under every conceivable kind of leader at every level and functioning as a leader, likewise. I can witness, experientially, that OT “type” leaders far outnumber NT “truth” leaders. For the former, “law” supersedes “grace” in both substance and style. Following is a personal leadership example from the latter.

As a young Territorial Youth/Candidate’s Secretary upstart, a very seasoned, respected and influential Salvation Army leader spoke at a conference I attended. One of his illustrations impacted me greatly.

He spoke about his first appointment as a Divisional Commander (comparable to a Bishop or Superintendent in another denomination). He said (paraphrasing), "After attaining this position, there came times when I would flex my muscles if those under my command were not going by ‘the book’ (law), as I interpreted it, or were not conforming to my superiorly anointed wisdom and insight. When I did, my wife would always whisper into my ear, ‘Honey, you’re DC’ing it again.’ And that would always bring me back down to earth. "

I have never forgotten this important lesson, admittedly slipping occasionally and flexing my muscles (sometimes mercilessly) when I too arrived at that exalted position. Fortunately, there would always come this haunting whispering in the ear, "Honey, you’re DC’ing it again,” bringing me back down to earth. Yes, there were times when I took myself and the position (the book) too seriously, when the focus should've been on taking God and his Word (The Book of Books) seriously. And this applies at every level of leadership, bottom up.

As said, I’m at a point now where I can speak from lots of experience, some of it very recently, and here’s the most important lesson I've learned; it's become one of my leadership mantras:

If I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of compassion (Grace).

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