Is fear in leadership good?

What makes a leader effective? Is fear healthy? Is it all a matter of respect?

Monday morning train. The pungent aura of cigarette smoke, a jam packed carriage and a woman who insists on taking up 3 seats with her bag and feet… no wait, someone just insisted on breaking her little sphere of privacy. Today i decided i would start with a question and attempt to answer it. Being as ill informed about leadership as the next guy, I don’t claim to know everything and I’m only drawing from experience from service rather than leadership. I am under the impression that it’s easier to gauge good leadership when you are serving, rather than when you are under pressure and leading. When you don’t have the pressure on you, you have a clear mind to observe the decisions made by those above you. You don’t always however have ready access to the overall picture like you do when you are the head of something, but i think the fruits of good leadership are obvious for the most part despite knowing everything going on behind the scene.

And this is what i want to observe. The fruit.

Jesus teaches us (Matthew 7:17)¬†that in order to tell if a tree is good, you must look at it’s fruit. He emphasises the point many times in this chapter. Good trees bear good fruit. Bad trees bear bad fruit. Think of anyone you admire as a good leader. Why are they good? because if you think about it long enough, you realise that good flows out of them. People around and under them flourish. Lives are transformed by them. They are filled with vision and purpose. They are above reproach and full of integrity. Does this type of person sound familiar? It should, because the best leaders are those who imitate Christ, And Christ is all of these things perfectly.

What about fear? should leaders command with it? The answer may seem black and white, but i want to stir your thinking for a moment. Are we to fear God? Yes (type the words “fear God” into biblegateway.com). Obviously we are meant to fear God. We are not to fear man and because we fear God alone, we will do what he commands. So does that mean that we shouldn’t fear our leaders? also yes. 1 john 4:18 says that perfect love casts out all fear, as fear has to do with punishment. But can fear be a good thing? I think it can. Imagine if Jesus himself appeared to you and commanded that you talk to a particular person about his love for you. Would that no strike fear in you? but are you fearful of his punishment if you disobeyed? or just fearful of the wonderful privilege you have been bestowed. If we have fear, it is because our respect for Jesus is so great that disobedience is not an option.

Jesus commands that we be obedient to our leaders, even government officials unless it contradicts God’s will for our lives. I can assure you that unless you live under oppressive leadership in a nation of complete Godlessness, you would probably not find yourself having conflicting convictions when asked to obey traffic signs or conduct business fairly. The fear of God is directly transferrable to obeying our earthly leaders. if we are called to respect those in authority over us, then we must serve them as if serving the Lord. We fear our god, therefore we do what is asked accordingly. but this is a good fear. Remember, judge a tree by it’s fruit. Great encouragement accompanies this type of fear.

But fear can also be abused. If a leader does not have the respect of their followers, the temptation can be to use fear to drive people. It’s a shortcut though. with no character, a leader who drives with fear produces bad fruit. The quality of work suffers. The quality of follower suffer. people don’t flourish, they perish. This is obviously a bad tree. and bad trees need to be cut down. But don’t worry about doing the Gardening yourself. God is the great green thumb and he’ll grab his gloves and snippers and chainsaw down the things that aren’t doing well. Remember how Jesus cursed the fig tree? It eventually died and couldn’t produce fruit good or bad anymore. It’s not our place to uproot bad leaders because God is the one who promotes or demotes. We are called to obey those in authority over us until the due time when God will reveal what is true about such a person.

If you are in leadership, look at the fruit in your life. If there is no fruit, look at the soul in your life. if there is no good soil, uproot yourself and make sure you’re surrounded by accountability, the word of God and someone who’s vision you can attach yourself to. Be a servant and be confident. Fear those above you because you fear God.

Happy monday people. ūüôā

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Judgement day

Image

Forgive my poor attempt at a nuclear bomb. I couldn’t find a royalty free substitute. but anyways…

More often than not I catch myself naturally judging another person based on what I perceive to be their ultimate motive. I get mad at something not yet born. An eventuality I can only assume. That is that all choices, good or bad, are somehow leading to the selfish desire of their hearts. 

Let’s think on that logic. Who knows the desires¬†of ones heart? sound familiar? Do I? No, not really. I can’t even say for sure what the desires of my own heart is, let alone my wife’s, family’s, friend’s¬†or stranger’s. There is one person who knows the desires of the heart, whom I constantly neglect to enquire of when casting judgement¬†on others. “man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart”. No matter how hard we try, even if we were able to¬†read another’s mind, we are only ever reading thus perceiving and taking educated guesses upon the heart, not knowing.

Therefore who are we to make¬†ANY absolute statement on what drives a person to do the things they do. What good is it to assume the worst of people when that only makes¬†us point the finger outwards instead of recognising and admitting what is flawed within ourselves. Instead assuming the worst in others leads¬†to self righteousness. it causes us to think highly of ourselves as “better off” than others. If love keeps no records of wrong, then why don’t we – who bare love – seek to see¬†good in others? always!

If Christ who died for their sins refuses to keep record of what we have done, past, present and future, then who am I to count something I can’t event see yet against others?! lest we become the centre of ridicule for others to point out our flaws.¬†I think Jesus was merely pointing out an obvious fact in Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”.¬†That’s right: you too will know what it feels like to have the worst assumed of you when you’re always bearing down on the failures of¬†others.

So next time you cringe at another persons life, Take the chance to look at your own life. I know I’ve been overly judgemental over the past few weeks to people that i care about the most and it’s not working out for me very well. A little optimism goes along way. It may even go as far as pushing others towards goodness.

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A Noble Woman

I’m reading through proverbs 31, most notably the part about the “Wife of noble character”. One of the main messages i receive from this passage is that a good wife is not lazy. She considers all her options, she works from dawn to dusk and is successful because she is consistent and faithful at what she does. From what i hear, this passage is sometime analogous to The Church of Christ as we are the bride of Christ. The Wife cares for her household, those serving in the house and extends her resource out to the poor and needy, just as the Church should. In the start of the chapter, in the sayings of King Lemuel, his mother warns him not to waste time with women who will bring you to ruin. The chapter ends with a remark about charm and beauty being carnal, but a woman who fears the lord is to be praised. as the church, being carnal will delay the progress of the kingdom of God but a healthy fear of the lord can see provision and¬†honour¬†bestowed upon the house of God.

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Finishing

file -> new -> codestuff -> debugalotofstuff -> throwoutcode (rinse and repeat)

Wait! have you finished the last one?

I wonder what would happen if all the projects that were ever started up at some point were gathered in one place and separated into finished and unfinished piles. Would we be surprised at the little work that actually gets done? Would we suddenly realize that humanity has trouble finishing things we’ve started? Or am I just pointing out the obvious.

Last night I had the best idea for an iPhone application. I started brain storming about what the core functions were, wrote them down and even constructed a simple flow chart with most of the possible screens that a user would need to encounter ( login, main page, settings, etc ). I finally got onto my mac and decided that the first thing I would do is attempt to run the template new project on my iPhone. after about 1 hou

r of forums and confusion about where things were on a mac (I’ve used PCs for most of my life), I resigned to my bedroom unsuccessful and feeling quite discouraged.

It got me thinking about all the things that I pick up and put down, never to pick up again; All the ambitions that were tossed aside because a newer ambition looked more attractive. I thought about what would have happened if I’d just decided to stick with the first ever ambition I’d ever had and see it through till the current day. Maybe¬†I’d be a concert pianist or modern-day Gilbert and Sullivan (had to do a quick Google search to check that’s how they were spelt :P).

I don’t think I’m alone in this thought. I’d argue humanity as a whole – maybe particularly men – struggle with the practice of committing to something till its completion. We are so easily enticed by the idea of something new, Something fresh whose problems and obstacles are not yet apparent to us and yet it draws us in with its promises of excitement or success or more importantly satisfaction with its completion. But then we discover that the rabbit hole goes deeper than we thought, we get scared of the unknown and fear to venture further into the discovery of how this exciting new world works. We start comparing ourselves with those who have accomplished things in this realm and get discouraged, so we move on.

I want to be the kind of person that does not crumble to fear of the unknown, runs at the sight of new problems and obstacles or looses interest simply because something becomes seemingly more accessible and exciting. I want to create new projects and finish those projects, otherwise I may be in danger of finishing life with 1000’s of unfinished¬†Endeavors. if life gave me one task and I finished it completely, then I’d be better off than the one who began everything but amounted to nothing because he was chasing the wild goose of fulfillment where it was never meant to be found.

Think about that thing you started the other day and consider finishing it… It will feel good. ¬†beat the status-quo. It feels good to finish this blog post that I haven’t written in for months. ūüôā

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