I had a heart-to-heart with a dear one in my life yesterday. It seems– actually it’s true– I have a problem with authority. Now, it doesn’t mean I am a defiant anarchist- but there is something about the controlling nature of someone who is in charge when their control isn’t tempered with kindness.
I have realized my heart struggles with the need to trust and submit to the person who is over me. I am learning it isn’t that I don’t want someone to be “over” me, but I also know I don’t want to be controlled and manipulated by a restricting totalitarian. A leader like that will always make my spirit feel like it is chafing and bristling to break free. I feel defiant, rebellious, angry and ready to retaliate.
It’s ugly. It’s actually very ugly and very dangerous.
When I find myself bristling like a cat whose fur has been rubbed the wrong way I know there is something deeper going on. Sometimes sadly, I have ignored it and a situation that could be resolved with conversation and active listening blows up. There is yelling, hurtful words, and deeper wounds– nothing restorative comes from this kind of behavior. My heart cries out for a leader who isn’t out for the betterment of his or her own self.
As I thought about authority I started thinking of Biblical authority. What does that look like? Is it even attainable?
Biblical authority is a serving leader. One who is willing to stoop down and join those being led to help with direction and wisdom to guide and assist– helping to bring those “under” them to their next best level. A true authority offers protection and encourages the building of trust-because that leader is trustworthy.
What happens next is even better.
Those who are being led by Biblical means can finally find rest, be restored, find peace, and learn to exhale. Their leader is worth following. That kind of leader is going to be followed because that leader is striving for the betterment of his or her people under his or her authority.
How do you see the leaders around you? Are they primping and preening in the mirror to make sure they look good or are they striving to grow you into a better employee or volunteer? How are you helping them?
A simple way to help them would be to pray for them. You cannot stay angry with people you are sincerely praying for each day.
Another way is to acknowledge when they lead well. Nearly everyone will point out when the leader fails, but are you celebrating them when they lead well?
Be honest with yourself. Is the issue with the leader or with you? Are you nit-picking your leader because the leader is challenging you where you don’t want to be challenged? Are you finding places in yourself that need to be addressed and dealt with so you are whole?
If the answer to the question above is yes, then seek godly counsel to get those issues resolved.
Our leaders are only going to grow if those who are under them hold them up– not as targets, but as valued human beings- created in God’s image and for His purpose.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one inauthority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. (Romans 13:1-7).