Updated: Aug 27
Heartbreakingly, this isn’t new. Perhaps it is new to you, but it isn’t new to me and it isn’t new to history. And it isn’t exclusive to Christianity.
The bloody wreckage left behind by abusive leaders is smeared across the centuries, in every time period and in every country. Today it continues.
Leadership attributes attract people. Knowledge and education, though oftentimes required and impressive, fade to the periphery of charisma and well-spoken words.
Did we even hear what they said or did we get lost in how they said it?
Did we even see what they did or did we stop at what they said?
Did we even engage our minds to critically think and consider asking a question about either: their words or their actions?
Maybe we did ask a question. If so, how were our questions received? Were our words genuinely considered? Was a valid, well-supported point taken into account and applied in the future? Were apologies offered by leadership as new information was presented? Was the truth valued more than the appearance of having been “right"?
Or were we responded to with a posture of defensiveness? Were we cut down through condescension and wit so quick that we couldn’t keep up?
Were we responded to with anger at our audacity to voice a concern? How dare we respectfully challenge, despite the goal of protecting our beloved leaders. We feel unintelligent and emotionally shut down. The leader is obviously much more adept than us, so we will remain quiet the next time. Though in reality, there won’t be a next time, because we won’t even allow ourselves to consider there could be a question in the first place. We will simply believe and affirm.
Because our leaders could not be wrong...right?
They are too righteous. Never mind that David committed adultery, then had Bathsheba’s husband killed intentionally to cover up his sin. What if he had not humbled himself before the Lord and begged for forgiveness? Even though he did, there were consequences.
They are too close to God. Never mind that the church was built on Peter who had denied Christ three times. What if he had not been convicted of his sin and repented?