The lesson is taken from the book of Romans, chapter 15:
We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a] 4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
5. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8
Maya Angelou once said:
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
The reading talks about the strong bearing with the failures of the weak.
It says that each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up
That means that we should support one another out of a selfless desire to help, not to gloat, to feel superior or smug.
The essence of this reading is about servant leadership, selflessness, about giving of ourselves to others, without expectation of reward or recognition, but simply because we have the power to help and we want to help.
We all know how it feels when someone says that they believe in us. It is a massive boost to our confidence and self-belief. We also all know how it feels when the opposite happens, and we don’t feel supported or believed in.
If you have been on the receiving end of something unkind said or done by someone else, those feelings of hurt and upset often take a long time to be forgotten. Similarly, if someone has shown you some kindness, some understanding, if they have stood by you in tough times, that feeling of being supported and of not being alone is something that stays with you for a very long time.
People will never forget how you made them feel
We are all, to a lesser or greater extent, leaders, influencers, people who can make a difference and take others with them. Whether that is in your academic subjects, on the pitch, in your year group, on stage, as a teacher, as the Principal, as the leader of the orchestra or as a prefect.
We all have the power to impact negatively or positively on each other, every day. If you choose to smile and say hello as you walk past, instead of keeping your eyes down and walking quickly by, that person will walk just a little bit taller that day. If you sit next to someone who is on their own at lunch, instead of following the crowd, you will make a difference to that person’s self-worth and if you choose to help someone whose books have just fallen all over the floor, rather than walk by, you will make a difference to that person’s confidence. There is no doubt at all of the positive impact we can make.
Servant leadership is a philosophy based on the idea of serving other people to achieve your goals, rather than using other people to achieve your goals. Businesses and organisations talk of servant leadership, but I believe it is a way of life that any of us can embrace, because it is about putting the needs of others as a priority, above and beyond your own needs as the leader.
A servant leader is someone who looks after those around them, ensuring that they are growing and developing, acquiring skills and knowledge and feeling more confident, more empowered, more independent.
You are all capable of this and I am sure that you will be able to find ways of turning this philosophy of servant leadership into reality.
Remember the power that you hold in your hands, in your words and in your heart every day to impact on how a person feels. Use this power wisely and be a servant leader.