As Christians, Jesus is our example of leadership. I have always been amazed at the way Jesus was so tough and so tender at the same time. He was able to take on the entire religious institution of His day yet weep at the tomb of Lazarus. He attacked Satan and all the power of Hell yet was able to hold little children in His lap and pray for them. He turned over tables in the temple yet was able to give hope to the most downtrodden that He encountered. He is the perfect example of tough and tender.
What I mean by having tough skin and tender hearts is the ability to take criticism and persecution that is part of ministry and continue to actually love those who hate you and have wronged you. This is such a difficult task to live out and, in fact, is impossible in our own strength and ability. The only way this happens is when the Spirit of the Living God is living in us. It happens when are hearts are continually being enlightened by the love that God has for us and has revealed to us through His son, Jesus.
When I look at the example of Jesus I realize that my sin was just as responsible for putting Him on the cross as those who actually committed the murder. Yet, He still pursued me with grace and beckoned me to come to Him in love. How can I not offer that to others, even when they have hurt me deeply? I cannot withhold from others what I did not deserve myself!
Want to be tough skinned and tender hearted enough to lead like Jesus? Then dive into your relationship with Him. Get to know Him more through His Word. Learn more of who you are in Him as you read His Word! Speak to Him in Prayer and then listen for Him to speak to you! Cling to Him as if your life depends on it (After all it does!). Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to change your heart. Ask for courage and boldness. Ask for a spirit of humility and grace. Cry out to God and ask Him to make you like His Son. He will not deny you this great privilege. In fact, our desire to receive this transformation in us will never be as great as His desire to do this transformation for us.
My prayer for us is that God would make us tough skinned and tender hearted so that we may love the broken even when the broken may not love us!
Heart and Soul!