There are always two sides to every story. Unfortunately both sides of this one are sad. Leaders screw up. Leaders struggle. I’ve mentioned it before but I believe that successful leaders have something innate inside of them that not only helps them, but makes it impossible for them not to lead. There’s something in them that makes them want to lead. Whether it’s leading people into a philosophical idea, or taking them somewhere, leaders tend to be the people that are leading the charge. The “thing” that enables, almost forces leaders to lead is a very powerful thing. It can be used for great things but only if the leader is mature, accountable and ready to serve the people they are leading.
Mark Driscoll has been all over the news the last few months. I believe what started this issue was the “thing” inside of Mark. He was much younger, and I hope much less mature than he is now. His passion to steer people into what he thought was right was manifested in some internet trolling (and other things). It was bullying and wrong. I believe the very thing that allowed him to lead a large and successful church is also the thing that drove him to internet sites. He is/was deeply passionate about what he believes. Unfortunately he did not share and lead people in his passion properly. He acted immaturely, selfishly and was not serving his people.
Leaders have a platform, and those platforms can often lead to a sense of pride. There are other issues in the Mark Driscoll “Watergate”, but I believe pride is the root of his issues. I’m not saying he’s arrogant. I’m saying he is a passionate leader, and is passionate about what he believes. Passion can slip into pride. For leaders this often results into a sense of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” I believe Mark had this slip. He thought his passion was right and that he was doing the right thing, as a leader, at the time. He wasn’t.
Leaders fail. It’s not just leaders inside the church that do. Leaders outside the church do every day as well. There are pressures, stresses and temptations that are enhanced when you lead. But this blog isn’t about leaders, it’s about us.
People are used to the sad reality of fallen expectations. We are all to familiar with being let down by someone we admire. We are used to watching leaders collapse under the expansive resources and temptations they have at their fingertips. When these situations happen most people usually see it/hear about it and move on. They do this because to them it’s one person they can’t relate to that has failed. The majority of the people that have heard about the leaders failures and transgressions are not affected by them. How many people are still talking about Bernie Madoff? We cope with these failures differently when it doesn’t affect us. I mean really, how many people do you know are actually going to have their lives affected in any way by Mark? We can’t relate to it because there is nothing linking us to it. And this is what scares me.
My sister reminded me that the whole world is watching how WE (Christian’s) treat the one person (and their kids – don’t even get me started) that screwed up.. The world might know that Mark screwed up but to most of them it wasn’t something that really resonated with them. It probably didn’t even make the water cooler conversations at most offices. No one was murdered. No family’s lost their homes. It’s a moral issue that has not affected most people’s daily lives. These same people do however recognize the things inside of them that aren’t accepted by Christians. They might think about the things we don’t accept regularly but they know what Christians don’t accept or believe is right. And that’s what sad. These people know that we don’t agree with some of their choices or lifestyles. They know that we don’t agree with what Mark did. And while they know this they are watching us, and how we treat our wounded. What they are watching is a shame. One of our own (not that we are to love our own more than others but it’s human nature and people relate to that idea – I.E. my kids are more important than kids I don’t personally know). What they are watching is confirming their hesitation to even try and get to know God or us. If we can treat one of our leaders so hatefully in a time they need love and support the most, why would they expose their shortcomings to us? Why would they ever humble themselves and form a relationship with a group of people that are chomping on the bit to crucify them as soon as they fail. Who would anyone be themselves with us knowing that we are not afraid to throw stones at them and their sins. “ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALLEN SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.”
We are better when we are humble, leaders and followers alike. Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house. We all live in glass houses, no one’s perfect. Love, support and encourage. That’s how you change the world. #lovewins