“May (you) have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19 ESV

Redemption and reconciliation is for the restoration of all of God’s creation. Everything about this world is being brought back into the original image as God intended it before sin entered. We might say, how we treat creation reveals our hearts as either with God or against God. And one key piece of creation, the part we are going to look at today,13 is the people that God created. We will find that one of the biggest tests to our faithfulness and if we can be trusted by God, is in how we treat people.

In Isaiah we read about roads being rebuilt and houses being inhabited once more, about the ancient paths being built:

“And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generation; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” Isaiah 58:12 ESV

The legacy of God upon our lives is that we are given invitation to participate in the restoration of this world and those living in it. People are a part of God’s creation and therefore one of the top priorities of his Kingdom. If, as pastors and leaders in the body of Christ, we expect to be entrusted with the keys to God’s Kingdom we must first come to know the priorities of The King. What is the manner of his heart and movement toward people? We might ask.

The story of Noah drunk in his tent instructs us. In Genesis 9 we find this account:

“Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem and let Canaan be his servant.  May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.” Genesis 9:20- ESV

I pondered over this story for years, asking the Lord to reveal to me the heart of it, what it meant to instruct, and how to apply it in life. And to my spirit came the realization that this story is all about how we deal with the vulnerability of others and how we respond. Basically, are we covering over or are we exposing?
Ham saw the nakedness of his father and chose to speak it out, to tell others, in essence dishonouring his father by this exposure and the focus on his state of drunkenness.

In stark contrast to this, Shem and Japheth took care to cover over their father, literally with a blanket; they refused to expose or to make a mockery of him. Their act is an exact replication of the work of Christ covering over our sin and shame, refusing to expose us, but rather, enacting honor, regard, and restoration of dignity and value.

It applies directly to any of us who work with people for a living. As a minister of prayer and with gifts of discernment and prophesy that sees the hearts of others, I am always at that same choice of seeing the (emotional, psychological, spiritual) ‘nakedness’ of others and either 1.) talking about them, exposing them, as Ham did, or 2.) ensuring that the dignity of the person is upheld and that I guard their dignity, as Shem and Japheth did with their father.

At the core of this story is the truth, ‘love covers a multitude of sins.’ God sees our hearts long before we do. God walks with us as sinners. God loves us in our lowly states of mind and being.

“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”
Psalm 3:3 ESV

Growing in relationship with God we come to find that God’s heart is not to expose us, rather God lifts our shame off of us and sets us on our feet. Jesus identified with us in our sin and refused the shame. Simply put, we are also compelled to retain the dignity and honour of the people around us.

While we all carry natural and inherent weaknesses, when we make another’s weaknesses known abroad, when we expose others, we are dishonouring the loves of God’s heart. This therefore, is a measure of our maturity and our godliness.

In our humanity we naturally want to bring others down, discredit others, and draw attention to the vulnerabilities and ‘nakedness’ of others. But in the spirit of The King we choose and act a better way, in the spirit of the King we cover-over. Isaiah 42:3

Walking in the flesh we expose. Walking in the Spirit we cover.

God treats each of us with so much respect and honour and he expects us to do the same with each other. As we saw in Noah’s response to his sons, it becomes an issue of trust. To the two that covered him, he blessed, to the one that exposed, he cursed. Two he could trust. One he couldn’t.

As we have been learning, trust is the currency by which all relationships, all influence, and all ministry flow. Without trust we have no voice and can make no lasting impact for we’ve violated one of the primary priorities of the King and the way in which life works in this world.

In the Kingdom of God our trustworthiness shows up here, with people:

  • Can people trust us?
  • Are we safe?

And from God’s point of view:

  • Can we be trusted with His most precious possession, people?

Now, this can get tricky because we are all gifted with observation. Shem, Ham and Japheth all had the same observations. What enabled the two to honour when the one couldn’t?

In the same way, each of us are observing all of the time. We see what we see but then it is our hearts that determine our response. When our response comes out of our own flesh and ego we end up with responses that mirror more the work of Satan than the way of God. We want to walk in response that comes from a heart full of the Lord, for here and only here, do we respond with the spirit of God.

The thing is, as human beings we want to make meaning of everything we perceive. It is somehow very important to us to categorize and organize and make sense of what we see and experience. As a result, as humans we are quick to see and even quicker to judge. But in the Kingdom of God, and with gifts of discernment, and in simple observations, we must slow down our rush to add meaning.

I have seen over the years our tendency to perceive something and to immediately add meaning to that perception. It is as though the two things are one and the same. But they are not. Rather, it is quite possible to perceive, to observe, and to hold off meaning. In fact, it is absolutely critical to learn this. Slowing down our judgments leaves our hearts free to operate from purity of motive.

At one time a woman came to me to share her observations and to practice her discernment of a situation regarding a mutual acquaintance. As she shared it became apparent that her discernment contained both what she was seeing and the meaning she was ascribing to it. Now I knew some background context of this acquaintance and so I was quite aware that this woman’s observations were absolutely correct.

Yet the meaning she added to it, was completely her own ego and flesh thinking and was in fact completely inaccurate. When our egos are attached to our discernment this is what we get. And we do this all the time. We may be seeing completely accurately but when we add meaning that is out of our own hearts and understanding and in this we are often incorrect.

The primary key in being able to observe accurately is to refuse to ascribe meaning too quickly, if at all. It is therefore critical to continue working on our own hearts and minds before the Lord so that our discernments can come from the pure heart of our Lord and not tainted with our ego bias’ and perceptions.


  • If our hearts are clean and free from jealousy then our discernments will be free and clean of jealousy
  • If our hearts are clean and free of arrogance then our discernments will be free of arrogance
  • If our hearts are not free of either of these things then our discernments will not be either

Every grimy lens of our hearts, every fear, every overreaction, and more, is naturally and immediately interwoven through our discernments, until we learn to separate us out of the mix.

“To the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.” Titus 1:15 ESV

“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Titus 1:15 NLT
As leaders it is important that we learn to observe and share our observation but hold back on meaning. We take on the benefit of the doubt that our meaning (our best thoughts) may be wrong. We invite the Holy Spirit to correct our faulty thinking and to highlight true meaning and accurate discernment.

This does two things:

  • It keeps us from being God in anyone’s life.
  • We allow space for the Holy Spirit to work.

We must never forget that godly authority leads in humility. It is always learning, watching patterns, adjusting steps, and submitting everything back to the lord again and again. As we personally heal and mature in the Lord our discernment heightens and increases. We are better equipped to perceive and then to understand as through the Lords heart and eyes, not our own.

And out of this, we pass on God’s heart and God’s words only, and this is when others are blessed. People don’t need our opinions. They need to know God’s heart for them. We must lead from hearts of compassion and grace and we must allow others the freedom to walk their own journey with the Lord.


As pastors and leaders in the Kingdom of God we would do well to learn how to become safe people and to make safe spaces for others. This is always something we can be working at learning and fine-tuning. The long-term growth of the people we are serving is in many ways dependant on our ability to be for them, to cherish them, to listen well, and to hold back condemnations and any superiority.

Today we are going to learn how to make emotional and psychological safe spaces for others. Following, are two lists, one describing Unsafe People, and another describing Safe People.

Unsafe People (what not to do or be)

  1. Think they have it all together instead of admitting their weaknesses.
  2. Are defensive instead of open to feedback.
  3. Are self-righteous instead of humble.
  4. Only apologize instead of changing their behaviour.
  5. Avoid working on their problems instead of dealing with them.
  6. Demand trust, instead of earning it.
  7. Believe they are perfect instead of admitting their faults.
  8. Blame others instead of taking responsibility.
  9. Will lie instead of being honest.
  10. Are stagnant instead of growing.
  11. Avoid closeness instead of connecting.
  12. Are only concerned about “I” instead of “we” (not relationship centered)
  13. Resist freedom instead of encouraging it.
  14. Condemn us instead of forgiving us.
  15. Stay in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals.
  16. Are unstable over time instead of being consistent.
  17. Are a negative influence on us, rather than a positive one.
  18. Gossip instead of keeping our confidences.

Safe People (do these things)

  1. Value love – connection – have the ability to trust.
  2. Value responsibility (take responsibility for themselves and value that in others) Neither overly dependent on others nor codependent (feeling responsible for others)
  3. Value honesty – ability to be known – transparent – who they really are.
  4. Working on their own issues
  5. Respond to truth
  6. Have a good track record (may fail, but learn from failure and move on, are in progress of making a good track record even if this is a new beginning for them)
  7. Can be observed and tested – see them in interactions with other people (test them with a small part of yourself, share a part of your heart and see what happens)
  8. Bear good fruit in your life by being with them (encourage you to grow individually and in your connection with other people)

VERY IMPORTANT * If you are not an emotionally safe person, if you condemn or criticize or cast shame, you undo and impede the work and transformation of the Lord in people’s lives.

As ministers within the body of Christ we must become emotionally safe people. As you become emotionally safe you create a space where the Holy Spirit can enter in and softly speak to people, transforming and healing them from the inside out.

This is the primary work of ministers in God’s kingdom, we create the safe spaces and the welcome of our Lord by which people are then open to the transformation of the Holy Spirit deep within.

Without emotional, physical, and psychological safety you and your people will not grow in the Lord.

Rules for Creating emotional Safety

Be Completely Confidential – REFUSE to share other people’s stories or journey

Be Understanding – REFUSE to criticize or shame or condemn anyone for anything

Be in Process – REFUSE to rush people to change

Be Trusting – God is working in people’s lives, REFUSE fear regarding them


As a response to the high priority that God puts on us to regard people in all things, we take another look at ourselves as leaders and this issue of trust.

To begin we recall that to be a leader is all about trust. 1 Corinthians 4:2

When we first come into leadership we may think it is about: 

  • Status
  • Power
  • Position
  • Authority

But these things are the lowest forms of leadership. 16 

A true leader does not worry about status because status is about self, and a leader is for others. Matthew 23:12

A true leader does not worry about power because s/he knows that the Lord is our power. Deuteronomy 31:6

A true leader is not concerned about position because s/he knows that true leadership can be lived regardless of position. Luke 6:31

And finally a true leader does not focus on authority because s/he knows that the only authority we have is determined by our service. Philippians 2:3-8

Questions – This is what we ask ourselves: 

  • Can people trust me?
  • Do I keep my word? 
  • Do I do what I say? 
  • Where do I break trust?

Because the foundation of all leadership is trust with those we serve, it is good to do some study of ourselves in this matter. 

  1. Think about the past six months, are there any times when you did not keep your word or have broken trust with someone. 
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit, “God, please tell me the times I did not do what I said or broke trust in any way?”  As the Lord reveals these times to you, write them down. 
  3. Then, go to the person/s that was hurt by you breaking your word and apologize

Accountability – An apology is like this,  go to the offended person/s and share:

“You know that time when I broke trust by (fill this in with your exact incident),? Well, the Lord has been talking to me about this and I realize how wrong that was of me, and I just want to tell you that I am sorry. I apologize for the trouble this may have caused you. I am also committed to working towards never doing something like that again. I want to be the kind of person, the kind of leader, that you can trust.” 

Keep in mind that you are not looking for that person to be able to trust you again right away. Do NOT demand trust. Trust takes time to establish. You are also not needing to feel better about the event/s. In fact, allowing the grief of the Lord to settle through you in genuine sorrow is one of the best things a leader can do. 

We must come into understanding of The King’s high priority regarding people. Jesus Christ died on the cross to carry the sins of the entire world. He is reconciling all people to himself. He came to make enemies into friends. He is restoring the Kingdom of God to this earth and to our lives. We can live a mirrored representation, in imitation of God as revealed to us in Christ.


The gospel is for people 1 John 2:2; John 3:16-17
To grow in spiritual authority in the Kingdom of God we must take great care of peoples hearts, for these are the priority of The King. Matthew 20:25-28
We prove our love to our King by showing our love to his people. 1 John 4:19
We must become safe people. Romans 12:9-21
We live God’s heart in this world. Galatians 5:22-23; Leviticus 19:1


13 The other aspects of creation, the land and sea, the birds and animals, the earth and everything in it, are also intended to be restored by God as well. Here too our hearts are either for or against God in terms of his created world. If we contribute to the destruction of God’s created world, the land and sea, the birds and animals, etc we show that we do not love what is the handiwork of God. The earth and everything in it has been entrusted to us for proper stewardship — this means that God expects us to care well for each and every thing that he created.
14 1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 17:9
15 These lists come from the work of Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in their book, Safe People, 1995, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and on their website http://www.cloudtownsend.com/category/safe-people/
16 The 5 Levels of Leadership, 2010, by John Maxwell, Centre Street, Hatchet Book Group, NY, New York

=> Lets go forward with Coming on the Inside

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