Personal Growth

The Forgiveness Is Better Than Permission Myth

I occasionally will hear young church leaders, youth workers, volunteers, or a variety of other types of people that work for someone, make this statement: Forgiveness is better than permission.  What!  I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that concept.  I refuse to live my life like that, furthermore, I refuse to stand idly by while this myth is perpetuated from one generation to the next.

I can think of no circumstance whatsoever where this is a good idea.  If you have lived your life by this code, stop it.  Stop it now!  This mentality, or whatever you want to call it, will get you nowhere, really fast.  Especially if nowhere is somehow connected to you being fired or “let go” from your job or post.  If you live like this, or frequently operate in this fashion, it tells me several things:

  1. You really don’t see the big picture.  Your actions will directly, or indirectly, influence and affect everyone on your team.  And it probably won’t be for the betterment of your organization.  Someone will more than likely be hurt, offended, misdirected, embarrassed, disappointed, or worst case scenario, will experience, perhaps an unrecoverable setback.
  2. Your boss/leader/superior prefers this approach.  No.  Not at all.  Just sit down and have a candid conversation with him/her, and you will quickly find out that no leader appreciates this technique.  I make it a common practice, to avoid, if at all possible, ever backing my leader into a corner, where he is forced to have to make a quick, difficult decision due to a lack of planning and preparation on my part.  I especially will avoid at any cost, doing something, knowing that later, I will have to ask for forgiveness for causing some (avoidable) damage.
  3. You already know that you’re going to hear a NO.  See, this is what it all really comes down to.  You already know, that what you’re planning on doing, if you asked permission to go ahead with your plans, would be shot down.  The truth of the matter is, if you know that your idea or scheme would never be approved anyways, then why in the world would you go ahead and attempt to do it when you know that you shouldn’t!  I don’t know a whole lot about a lot of things, but I do know that leaders have little to no tolerance for this type of insubordination.
  4. You’re insecure as a leader.  Secure leaders will accept NO for an answer.  I do realize that this is a rather harsh point to try to sell, but listen folks, this just comes with the territory.  If you work for someone, anyone, in any field of labor, in any type of working environment, your boss/superior reserves the right to tell you no!  I have to remind my kids occasionally that NO is an answer.  Now it might not be the answer that they’re looking for, but NO is an answer.  A secure leader, while he/she might not understand or appreciate it, will at least accept it.

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