*originally posted at Life and Limb Blog
Winston Churchill said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” A leader is held accountable (James 3:1). They are responsible for how they act and what they say as a leader. It’s a scary time to be a leader. Hey- it’s even a scary time to be a follower!
With all the discord on politics, the pandemic, and race, I’ve struggled the last year or so watching people I’ve always trusted and looked up to behave in certain ways and proclaim certain things I never thought they would – things that my heart struggles to line up with who Jesus is. It makes the ground beneath me seem shaky. I find myself beginning to lose my balance or my footing.
I’ve also grieved and am grieving watching prominent leaders in their own right act in these ways and PEOPLE. ARE. FOLLOWING. The Word tells us the devil prowls around like a lion, that wolves come in sheep’s clothing, that in the last days some will fall away and we will know all BY. THEIR. FRUIT. (1 Peter 5:8, Matthew 7:15-16, 1 Timothy 4:1)
When the Holy Spirit brings these scriptures to mind I can begin to untangle my emotions and thoughts about what I’m witnessing, and when that weight falls off, I can stand firm. Yes, I still grieve at what I’m seeing but I don’t freak out – I pray. How do we know who we can trust? Test the spirits and check that fruit! (1 John 4:1-6).
Test the Spirits
I see most of what I’m witnessing through social media. Social Media can make us all squirm! Haha. Now is a good time to explain the difference between being uncomfortable by a post I see and being uneasy.
See, I’m okay with uncomfortable. Comfort can sometimes lead to being caught off guard and we’re always to be on guard (1 Peter 5:8); or it may mean I’m a little too okay with some sin in my life, or that I need to challenge my beliefs. So, if something makes me uncomfortable, it may just be something I need to explore to see if Jesus and the Holy Spirit are trying to tell me something or not. But uneasiness is different – it points to a lack of peace, a feeling of yuck. I call this disquietude.
Discomfort = okay
Disquietude = caution
If you look up the word disquietude it explains that it produces anxiety or even a feeling of alienation – both things that are not of Jesus. You’ve probably seen some of these posts. They’re often dressed heavily in pride. A prideful post looks like:
“I will never_____________. Keep that to yourself.” or “People who _____________are naive and easily duped.” or “I’m not listening to anyone who___” -and then they rudely insult a group of people.
Prideful people or leaders post things that insult, mock or belittle people who think differently than they do, act like they 100% know the truth and have all the answers, and use actual truth to point to a “look-a-like truth” or twist of truth. They also like to use fear to manipulate people into fearing others.
What’s worse is these prideful leaders, many of whom are pastors or Christian leaders, do a fantastic job of speaking the truth 80% of the time so when they throw this other stuff in, it seems logical or okay. Yet when some of us read it, we can’t help feeling not just uncomfortable but disquieted.
A spirit of pride, anger, mockery, belittlement, fighting for “rights”- anything that makes them raise their fists and point to audacities is probably not of Jesus. Not always – but often. Tread lightly.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “to handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” A genuine leader will lead gently and with great love for all mankind. Notice I didn’t say passionless just gently.
A genuine leader would not alienate certain people groups when they post. They will speak the truth, of course, but they speak it in love. They speak it in such a way that even those who blatantly disagree feel so valued they can’t help but comment “thanks for sharing that” or “ I appreciate that.” These leaders have an abundance of love fruit.
When about to post something strong or controversial, a genuine, Christ following leader will also admit “I don’t know it all,” “I’m still learning too,” or “process this with me.” You sense a true humility and love for others when they post. You may be uncomfortable but you’re never disquieted. Humility is a fruit that’s always sweet.
Unity is a good fruit. Unity is the theme of someone you can trust to follow. They never seem to set out to post with the purpose of “us vs them” – no matter WHO “them” is. Read that again. NO matter WHO them is. A leader who seeks unity always finds the common ground.
All I’m saying is…
Friends, be so careful with who you’re aligning with in this crazy world. Jesus is our only perfect example of leadership. Jesus is humble, kind, unifying, and fearless. He gives up His rights. The only time He’s strong handed? Well, the only time He’s like that is with prideful self-proclaimed Christians and leaders who are missing the mark. Isn’t that interesting?