Well we are certainly on the home stretch with this series of Leadership Myth Busters. For part 5, I want to face a big one:
Leaders Don’t Get tempted.
Being a leader means being a person of character and integrity. But if we are being really honest, most leaders will be tempted to sin and some will commit sin throughout their leadership journey. Unfortunately, the reality for all of us is that there are some sin’s that are likely to disqualify you from a future in your role. We’ve all heard stories of pastors and leaders having affairs, abuse, and many other sins societally frowned upon (and rightfully so). And surely we should be aware of such matters. But all believers are tempted by sin. So, to suggest that leaders won’t even get tempted by sin, is rather remarkable. Jesus was tempted by sin. It’s actually the part of him that makes him relatable.
Some time ago, my husband and I visited a church and the Pastor was probably the most authentic person I’ve ever seen preach. He shared about how he had definitely had situations in which he could have committed adultery and that at least in his mind he had entertained the thought. It was so vulnerable of him to have shared that. He was clearly a reputable man, judging by the congregation he led. And he was just an ordinary guy. He came across like a bit of a goody-two-shoes actually. But his honesty was refreshing. Sure, some would have judged him. But everyone else in the room who maybe could relate, which based on the divorce stats were most people in the room, would have felt relieved and empowered to fight for their marriages like he did.
Despite being the only person in scripture to ever have the title “a man after his own heart”, David was tempted and failed. We talk about David and his major sin a lot in church. We try to understand how it happened, what were the warning signs he missed…we look at it from every angle because we want to understand how we can avoid such major pitfalls. This is a wise habit. What his story certainly confirms though is despite the anointing on his life, he was tempted. Leaders definitely get tempted. It’s our response to temptation that really speaks about our character. Whether we run from it, or if we do commit sin do we repent quickly and make amends with those it harmed…
The unfortunate thing about sin, is because of our tendency to elevate certain sins in the Christian world (like sexual sin) we fail to be on alert of the temptations that seem lesser. It’s probably because there is more personal consequence if we commit the ‘big ones’. But some sins have been given that lesser status, purely as a result of social tolerance (which the church is not immune to). Sin is sin, regardless of how we order them. Being harsh, unforgiveness, judgement, gossip, dishonour, using power to harm…it is still sin. And the fact is if we ignore the enemies attempts to draw us into the ‘smaller’ sins we deceive ourselves. We should be cautious to fall into the temptation to ignore the ‘small’ stuff’. It may be evidence of our primary concern of protecting our position, rather than to please God who is unhappy with all sin.
I slightly digress. The fact is that we all get tempted. Leaders included. Which means when it happens, we should feel all the more empowered to share that with someone we can trust and give ourselves a chance to bring those things into the light, instead of allowing ourselves to play with secrecy. Secrecy and sin: not a good combination. We all get tempted and sometimes we sin. But our response to that sin, regardless of its consequence to us personally, is what makes all the difference.