Most of us are probably a bit shocked by the way Paul dealt with leadership ills: “When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned….” (Galatians 2:11-14). Many of us shy away from confrontation, believing in some way that it’s not appropriate Christian behavior.
But this passage demonstrates a good way to address leadership issues in our churches and Christian organizations. Whether it is a moral lapse, sexual abuse, habitual failings, or simply inadequate leadership skills and closed attitudes, they all need dealing with. Sadly what I have often experienced is that when leaders fail, we:
- Transfer the leader or even promote them.
- Buy-off the victim, bribing them to keep quiet (especially if it’s immorality).
- Intimidate the whistle blowers with threats, “accidents” and seek to destroy the evidence.
- Bring in outside speakers to preach about “He who has not sinned cast the first stone” (or choirs to sing the message “touch not the anointed of God….”)
- Blame the devil.
- Pretend nothing happened.
But very often, something needs to be done that is more direct. Open and honest feedback is a valuable gift – like what Paul provided for Peter. Consequences for misdemeanors are usually appropriate.
Instead of ignoring or neglecting these serious matters, let us prayerfully consider instead:
- What kinds of behaviors do you need to oppose directly?
- Identify any particular issues that need to be addressed in others.
- Which secret failings of your own do you need to address?
- Seek wisdom from God about what steps you should take in these matters.