Thursday, March 23, 2006

Good Leadership is Humble

The very essence of worldly leadership is arrogance. Those who are in charge are proud of it. So many in the world see their position of leadership as something they attained, something they achieved, and which their reputation depends upon. Instead of viewing leadership as a privilege, a gift, many of the world see it as a right and an entitlement. Even the castle cannot contain the king's ego.

This trait of worldly leaders is far removed from the biblical ideal. Biblical leaders are lauded not for their arrogant temperaments or lavish self-congratulation efforts, but for their humility. Imitating the ideal set out for them by such men as David, Daniel, Christ, and Paul, Christian leaders esteem others and downplay themselves. They quickly and gladly pass the credit for success on to others and do the same with blame. In fact, it is in taking blame that Christian leadership most sets itself apart from leadership as practiced by many in the world. Anyone can feign humility before the cameras and insist that others contributed more to success than he. It takes a real man, a secure man, an honorable man, to absorb blame for failure. Yet it is not easy for a man to do so. His flesh hates it. His pride rages against it. His self-conception cries out for anything, anything but the admission of wrongdoing. Why? When others realize that he has in fact admitted weakness, they will see him as an insufficient man, a weak man, a failure. This the king, the man, cannot abide.

But abide it the Christian leader must. When he does, he will realize that he need not hold on to an impossible standard that no one really believes he can reach. Indeed, he must confess his wrong, first because it is right before God, and second because it is honorable among men. So many men, especially leaders, live life in a pretend world in which they commit no wrongs and make no errors. I can think of men I know whom I've been around a good deal and who I have never heard admit misjudgement or mistake. What a tragedy this is, what a failure to grow, to honor God and conquer weakness. Christian leaders must be the first to confess their inadequacy. Others will see their sin whether they do or not. It is just that they show their true qualification for leadership, their true strength, when they ackowledge that they are weak. Christian men, to your wife, your children, your coworkers, your church--be quick to confess your wrong. Lay down the weapons of self-defense and the suffocating armor of pride and embrace godly manhood. It is only when the king knows the limits of his castle that he is truly wise. It is only then that he is truly able to lead his people.


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