In recent years we have seen a series of very public implosions by major Christian leaders. If you are anything like me, each of these events evokes feelings of anger, frustration, sadness along with so many questions.
How could they act this way?
Don’t they know what is on the line?
How do you lead for Jesus publically with so much mess behind the scenes?
Why did God chose to bless their ministry efforts while all of this was happening?
I’m sure you have questions too. They come naturally when we are let down by a leader. It is a dangerous thing to put people up on a pedestal and think of leaders as anything but human. It is dangerous, but we do it. We think of these men and treat them as if they are better than us when it comes to the pitfalls of human nature. I could share the names of a few leaders who have let me down, and I am sure you could share the names of a few as well. Perhaps the names coming to your mind are megachurch celebrity pastors who have fallen from a place of honor because of character breakdowns coming to light. For others of us the first name that comes to mind is a leader we have worked directly with.
Chances are that at some point in your life you will have a leader fail you. I am not saying that every leader will fail you, rather that over the course of your life you are bound to experience the pain of some leader failing you.
The failure might be an indiscretion, emotional or spiritual abuse, betrayal or abandonment…each of those are awful in their own way. These experiences can cause our outlooks to becoming jaded and pessimistic, which just isn’t beneficial for us.
As I reflect on the idea of being failed by a leader I know there are certain truths I need to keep in mind. I thought it might be helpful to jot down a list of a few statements I need to remember the next time a leader fails me:
- God WAS Good, IS Good, and WILL CONTINUE TO BE Good
- God always has been and always will be the source of any favor, momentum and results
- I want to think “Eye-for-an-eye” (you hurt me, I can hurt you). Jesus invites me to stop living by OT legalism and instead live with a NT ethic (as Jesus has loved me, I will love others…as Jesus has forgiven me, I will forgive others…)
- My hope is not found in a leader’s skill-set, gifting or influence – my hope is in Jesus
- Processing and recovery are dynamic in nature. Everyone’s timeline is a little different and lands somewhere between “get over it by tomorrow” and “I am going to sit in this forever”
What statements would you add to the list? What things are important to keep in mind when a leader fails us?