For several installments, we’ve been considering the motivation that is common to human beings—to look good, feel good, be right, and be in control—yet largely goes unexamined.  Then, contemplating what to do about it, we’ve been examining repentance.

Repentance that sticks. 

In my coaching practice, not uncommonly our focus turns to patterns in the pastor’s leadership or relational style that undermine his or her effectiveness.  I call this: “getting in your own way”.  All of us, from time to time, behave in ways we regret.

Some of these behaviors become habitual, keeping the leader in Groundhog Day—repeating the pattern in one church after another.

The antidote is sorrow unto repentance.

And, that’s easier said than done. When you examine the impact your selfishness, preferences for control, irresponsibility, perfectionism, or irritability has on those close to you, it can open you upOnce opened up, you can allow yourself to be impaled by the horrible effects of your sin.

You’d think it’d just about kill you.

Funny thing is, the opposite is true. 

As Paul notes in 2 Cor 7:11 godly sorrow produces concern, longing, earnestness, and indignation. And, it also produces the eagerness to set things right and a readiness to see justice done.  Your heart is changed. Because it is, you are changed, too.

The result is freedom for you and the possibility of new intimacy with those you’ve harmed.

Hard to believe, but true.

Now, some of you have no trouble ruminating on just how awful you are… like a well-worn path across the schoolyard, you relive your errors and with ferocity you abuse and debase yourself.


Never!  You say you don’t deserve it!  You say you’re just that awful.

I say no.

You’re not especially awful, you’re just arrogant.


You’re so certain you’re the special case.  The one person beyond forgiveness, cleansing, restoration.  The blood of Christ, you think, is insufficient to cover you, your sin. You discount the remarkable provision of Heaven rather than embrace the truth that you, special little you, are an ordinary sinner.

Not special.

And not at all remarkable in your unworthiness.  You’re just as unworthy as everyone else.

Of course you’re unworthy. 

That’s exactly the point of the atonement: God paid it all.

So, my invitation is to allow yourself be run through with the sharp sword of the sadness, pain and loss you’ve caused others.

Freedom waits on the other side. 

Coaching Distinctions #12

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