“What type of leader do you want to be?”
It is a legitimate question, and one that God asked me when I told Him, in my prayers, that something that happened to me wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair, and my first response was… well, in the flesh.
My issue had to do with betrayal, and I had done nothing (that God revealed to me, anyway) to deserve such an action. It hurt deeply that someone that I had trusted would do such a thing to me. In my prayers, I took my pain to the Lord, and with it expressed all my thoughts on the matter. After I was done, God simply said, “What type of leader do you want to be?”
My story really began much earlier that week, when one of my children was upset that his brother was revealing to others what he had been punished for. He felt betrayed, and acted out in anger. The “offending” son came to me in tears and told me that my other son had gotten really mad at him. He was hurt. When I questioned my other son on why he reacted this way, the full story was revealed.
After I had dealt with the son who had caused the offense in the first place, I turned to my other son and asked him, “Was your response right?”
“I think so.” was his tearful response. He felt that his anger towards his brother was justified. He had been betrayed, after all.
I said, “Well, if we want to see an example of how we should conduct ourselves, and if we are to be like Christ, then we need to see how Jesus handled the situation.”
We turned to Luke 22 and read about how Judas betrayed Jesus. Jesus, who was without sin, and had done nothing to Judas was betrayed by one of his own twelve disciples. It says in Luke 22:2-4 that “the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.”
The chief priests and teachers of the law were looking to get rid of Jesus. A person in Jesus’ “inner circle”, one of the twelve disciples went to people who were trying to kill Jesus, and informed them of how to get rid of Jesus. It wasn’t just an “I will lead you to Him” arrangement either. It was quite an elaborate plot because it involved identifying Him with a secret signal “a kiss”, and capturing Him when no crowd was present.
To make matters worse, Judas accepted money for his betrayal.
During the Passover celebration, or “Last Supper”, Jesus reveals, “But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” (Luke 22:21-22). Jesus mentions that He already knows about the betrayal, but the one who betrays Him will be held accountable.
In Luke 22, it recounts the events after the Last Supper including Jesus’ prayer in the Mount of Olives, and Judas’ betrayal. Judas approaches Jesus to give Him a kiss, but instead Jesus says, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47).
The disciples asked Jesus whether they should strike the soldiers, and one cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Jesus’ response was not one of anger- even though He had been betrayed and was now being arrested. Instead, He heals and restores the right ear, and tells the disciples “no more”. He also turns to those that have come for Him and asks why they have come to arrest Him. He asks them if He has lead a rebellion that they should come to Him with weapons. He says that they have been with Him every day at the temple and have not laid a hand on Him. However, He also says that they are there to fulfill a prophesy.
Despite being betrayed, persecuted, wrongfully arrested, severely punished, mocked, and sentenced to death, Jesus never displayed any anger. In fact, the only thing that He showed was understanding and love.
The response that I gave my child is that even though his brother betrayed a confidence, he should have not gotten angry and taken matters into his own hands. He should have instead told his brother how his action effected him, and sought to understand the reason for the behavior. They should have worked it out with love and forgiveness- not retribution.
Which brings me back to “what kind of leader do you want to be?”
God asked me this questions after reminding me of the conversation I had with my son. Betrayal is a hard thing to get over, and the easy road to take would be to take matters in my own hands. However, what kind of example would I be setting to others- especially my children- that I emotionally reacted.
Often, when God tells us to take the high road, we comment that it’s not fair that we are held to a higher accountability. But that is the price of a truly good leader and one who leads well. We need to ask ourselves who we are serving: man or God? If it’s truly God, then the only one that we have to please is God- not man. It is God who will promote us, and God who will make His light shine through us.
Even though it may appear that those who are not using Godly tactics are winning, it is God who promotes, and God who removes people. However, we should let God decide who He places up and whom He removes. God knows everyone’s reasoning, excuses, and character better than we do. When we move as God instructs us to, we show our character and provide an example of leadership for others to follow. It is a Godly one that is noticeable and will ultimately set us apart. If we follow His way, we won’t be circumventing where God wants us and hurting ourselves further in the process.
God taught me that I was not called to lead like many others, but as a child of God I have been set apart to be an example of His leadership. He taught me that despite being wrongfully betrayed, that I should continue on the path that He has chosen for me and lead with integrity.
Godly leadership reflects a person who is respected, and whose teammates, for the most part, serve willingly. Even though the leader has authority, they are not to abuse that authority, but lead in love, show appreciation, be compassionate, and offer gentle correction when necessary. Their actions should be “how can I help you” or “what can we do to change/overcome this situation?”. It should be an attitude of working together to reach a common goal and if one member needs help, we are all there as a group to make sure that things run smoothly. There should be harmony and cohesion.
A good leader is also humble, and accepts responsibility, correction, and will apologize when they are wrong. Pride does not exist.
People who do not follow these principles tend to fall as their character flaws are eventually exposed. There is no cohesion, just chaos and resentment. If you do not treat people with respect, how can you expect them to respect you in return? How are your actions personifying Christ’s?
A good leader is someone that God can promote, but the story doesn’t end there. We have to maintain good characteristics, and be surrounded with people that will hold us accountable. This is the formula for good leadership whether it is at work, church, or even in the home as God calls us to lead in different capacities. I chose to be a leader that I can be proud of (I really do not have it in me to seek retribution at all!). The result? I have leaders who work under me that respect me, enjoy working with me and for the magazine, that can come to me for prayer or work, and that believe wholeheartedly in the vision- by their own honest feedback. They will also tell me when I am doing something that can use improvement- and have (very lovingly, thank you!).
God showed me times when things have not gone according to plan someone else has always stepped in to help out. They had my back when I needed them- without question, or even being asked. There is harmony, cohesion and camaraderie.
I looked at the leaders that work with me, they mirror the same example, and lead the same way. The attitude is one of helping each other, and those that refused gentle correction who worked under their leadership eventually faded away by their own accord. In five years, we have only had one incident wherein someone has been asked to step down. Others have just moved on by their own decision.
That is the type of leader I want to be, and what I want to see in my leaders. I don’t want to lead any other way but God’s way, and if I stray, I hope that someone will hold me accountable. I want it to be said that I led with integrity and for people to enjoy working with me.
So let me ask you two of the same questions that God asked me, “Who do you serve: man or God?” and “What type of leader do you want to be?”