Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Christian Leadership in the Organization: The Mentor vs. the Judge

It is the ploy of the Devil to provide “good reason” for us to practice unchristian deeds.  Many times these deeds occur in the name of justice, fairness, and equity.  These however, may not be pure Christian virtues, especially when they are not mixed with Grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

One of the parables Jesus told was of a debtor who owed a very large debt and when his creditor would have put him in jail until he repaid his debt, he pleaded as was pardoned.  But no sooner than he was pardoned and he went out saw someone who owed him a significantly lower debt.  When the second debtor pleaded his case, the forgiven man refused to grant him pardon but had him thrown in jail.  Word got back to the original creditor, who became furious and rescinded his original decision and had the original debtor thrown in jail.  Forgive, Jesus says, that ye be forgiven.

There is an extent to which everyone deserves a second chance, but at some point pure justice has to be served.  The way of the LORD however, is that the issuing of pure justice is always a last resort and occurs when the accused refuses to be redeemed, reconciled, or restored.

God’s preferred treatment of us is neither just, nor fair, nor equitable. Isaiah 53 tells us that the Jesus bore our grief and carried our sorrows; that He was wounded for our transgression and was bruised for our iniquities.  Jesus bore all that for us; it wasn’t fair; He didn’t deserve it.  Yet the passage tells us that it pleased God to bruise Him.  And it was as if to balance out this injustice, and preserve His untarnished repute of being perfectly just, that the merits of the suffering of Jesus Christ are offered to us who deserved what He experienced.  We call it Grace; God’s unjust, unfair, and inequitable treatment of human beings.
Further evidence of God’s inequity was borne out in the parable recorded in Matt. 20.  It is of a householder who had a vineyard in which he needed labourers to work.  It showed how at different times of the day, up to the eleventh hour, close to the end of the working day, the householder went out and hired people to work – all for the same wage.  So we see where Enoch walked with God and he did not die, neither was it recorded where he endured any severe hardship.  Job was deemed perfect and upright, but was subjected to the most severe hardship any human being, outside of Christ himself, may be called upon to bear.  Hebrews 11 gives us a litany of the hardships God’s people throughout all the ages endured, and yet not everyone was subjected to the same intensity of hardship.  In the end though, all who will be saved will have the same basic reward – eternal life.  Interestingly though, eternal life is not a reward for the hardship we endure in life, it is a gift procured by Jesus Christ through His unjust, unfair and inequitable suffering for us.  At His pleasure He extends the benefits to whomsoever He will, and He has extended it to us all.  John 3:16.
How should all this inform how a Christian leader in a Christian institution should operate?  Should Christian leaders be more apt to mentor than to judge?

Ø  Many times the people we try to mentor are those who are already performing at a high level or who show great potential for outstanding performance – much like politicians who choose causes they believe will get them the votes.  The people, however, who seem to lack vision and motivation are often ostracized and pushed aside.  It is here though that true Christian leadership is tested and manifested; not to go in front of people who are already moving in a certain direction, but to convince someone who is either going nowhere or going in the wrong direction to move in the desired direction.  This means not acting as a judge, but as a coach who understands the value of character on the field.  Character is what will determine the level of tenacity and resilience with which one strives for the goal.  A smart coach will not only work on physical fitness, which can be easily measured, but on mental toughness that makes one a winner long before the game is played.

Ø  Being a mentor or a Christian leader means not being as surprised or disappointed as one will seek to understand and meet the unique needs of a subordinate – thus freeing that individual to function appropriately and optimally.

Ø  True Christian mentors/leaders do not react but simply act with concern and care for those under their charge – understanding ministering to those who are to be won for the Kingdom.

Ø  True Christian mentors/leaders show patience even for those who should know better and may even be the ones in charge; are not position but people sensitive.

If you desire or have experience the Grace of God then your leadership is hard pressed to show evidence of this marvelous Grace of God.  It must be a leadership that is reconciliatory, redemptive, and restorative.  Christian leadership must be audacious enough to break the conventions of justice, fairness, and equity and to act with the Grace of God that has been extended to all unworthy sinners.  The day will come when God will pour out judgment, unmixed with mercy.  Rev. 14:10.  He will not have been impressed with our “impressive” numbers; He will have noted the lives we touched and the bridges we created for others to connect with God.