Respect for and submission to authority – a good thing. Right? Being in ministry we understand the biblical basis for authority and our responsibilities to the authorities God has placed in our lives. But could there be such a thing as too much of a good thing?
In the past, too often what I termed respect for my authorities was really an unhealthy deference that was based in the “fear of man”. I would agree with my authority or not deliver bad news and especially not correct him when he was clearly wrong. I rationalized that as “respecting my authority” when all it was, was old fashioned “fear of man” which is not biblical.
That kind of thinking is dangerous for our authorities and for our organizations. Leaders need the loving candid feedback of their subordinate leaders. Respect for and submission to our authorities does not mean not challenging them, it does not mean assuming they always know best, it does not mean agreeing with them externally while alarms are going off internally – it means giving them your best input – even when you know they won’t like what you have to say. It means that you care for them enough as a brother or sister in Christ that you will say what they need to hear even at the risk of your relationship.
Fortunately, I work for a man that is easily entreatable. He often asks what his blind spots are and asks his leadership team to challenge him. Even with his openness and seeking of input, sometimes it is hard to challenge him. That is my problem – not his. So as leaders, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are very approachable, that we create an atmosphere that invites and even requires feedback to us on our performance and behavior that is lovingly brutal. This is hard to cultivate, but we must encourage and receive honest feedback from those we lead of we will find ourselves and our organizations headed for trouble.
Have a blessed day serving our Lord,