About the Narrator

Tom Schmidt was raised in a family of nine on a dairy farm in Kansas. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, graduating in 1970 with a commission in the Infantry. He served for 25 years in command, staff, and instructor assignments, ranging from platoon to Department of the Army level. Tom and his wife, Jean, also served on OCF staff as Field Representative at Ft. Leavenworth and Director of Field Operations.

This episode narrated by LTC Tom Schmidt, USA (Ret.)

What about forgiveness in the workplace?

Today’s Scripture reading comes from Matthew 6:14-15, quoting from the NASB:

“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Forgiveness is a choice. If my spouse does something that offends me, I can decide to be hurt, to rehearse the offense in my mind and to allow frustration, anger, and unforgiveness to set in. Conversely, if I keep my wits about me and follow Jesus’ instructions, I will choose to forgive and move on.

Peter asked, “How often should I forgive?” Not knowing to forgive is not the issue; choosing to forgive hits at the heart of the struggle. Jesus instructs us not to withhold forgiveness, but to freely forgive.

What about forgiveness in the workplace? Is forgiveness measured out by good or bad performance? Too many headlines read like this: Commander Jones was relieved of his duties because leaders lost confidence in his ability to effectively lead and perform assigned duties.

There is no question leaders have a responsibility to uphold workplace performance standards and maintain good order and discipline. Consequences properly follow violations, but Jesus’ admonition to forgive also pertains to workplace justice. Marginalizing or devaluing one who has erred or denying such a one a path to restoration of workplace fellowship is not Christ’s brand of forgiveness. Leadership fosters growth out of genuine value placed on each person.

It is best to let the mind of Christ guide workplace forgiveness and restoration acts. I almost erred by allowing a worker’s prior disciplined misstep to determine whether I would hire this person. A decision not to hire her would have meant that a less qualified person would have been selected for the position. As I asked the person about her previous infraction, she said to me, “At some point someone has to give me a chance.”

The fact is, she had suffered the consequences several times over for her mistake, and I was in a position to make her pay once more. Forgiveness is a life restoring, healing act, extended in obedience to Jesus’ teachings and His examples. That hiring decision turned out to be one of my best actions as the worker became a highly responsible top performer.

Whether in a personal relationship or in the workplace, Jesus’ admonition to forgive remains. As servant leaders, how we forgive and restore is a mark of obedience to Christ’s commands.

Points to Ponder

Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.

  1. First, turn anger and hot emotions over to God as an expression of godly character and with an earnest desire for the best for others.
  2. Second, do what God has instructed and trust Him for the results. Take every thought captive to the knowledge of Christ.
  3. Third, exercise responsible leadership by maintaining good order and discipline but refrain from devaluing one who has come under discipline.

Monthly Evaluation

It’s time for a quick monthly evaluation. Click here to download the monthly reflection sheet. Use the reflection sheet to help gauge your habit of integrating faith and profession, and to help get you into the habit of keeping a written record of those times when the Holy Spirit speaks to you.