Making good decisions has special requirements for a Christian leader. Read Proverbs 1:1-7.
For the Christian leader making good decisions includes elements beyond accurately analyzing and processing information and temporary success or failure. To bear the name Christian along with the title leader they must also consider fairness, honesty, and morality as part of each decision. The book of Proverbs isn’t a decision-making textbook, but it was inspired by God and written by King Solomon of Israel, a leader who over the centuries has become known as the wisest man to have ever lived.
Effective leaders have compassion for their team even during the administration of justice for unacceptable attitudes or behavior. Read Luke 13:31-35.
As Jesus approached Jerusalem, some religious leaders warned Him that He would not be safe in Jerusalem and told Him He should not go there. Jesus already knew He would be killed while He was in Jerusalem and He knew that was part of God’s plan to redeem people to Himself. Jesus also knew that Jerusalem would be harshly judged by God for their actions in the past, for what they were about to do, and for their unbelief. The prophecies about Jerusalem were fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman General Titus leveled Jerusalem. Jesus expressed deep sorrow as He thought about the future suffering of those living in Jerusalem.
Great leaders are not afraid to confront wrongdoing and stand up for what is right. Read Mark 11:12-19.
Jesus was secure in His identity and mission. He had arrived in Jerusalem for what would be his last visit and when He arrived He visited His Father’s house, the Temple. While some of the business conducted in the temple’s outer courts provided traveling pilgrims with sacrificial animals for their offering, many of the people doing business in the Temple’s outer courts were doing business and hawking wares for profit and not to benefit the worshiper or to bring honor to God. Jesus did not seek permission to confront what was an obvious unfair, unauthorized, illegitimate use of the Temple’s outer court.
In every culture God-honoring leaders have universally recognized the virtue of justice and the treacherous nature of injustice. The effective leader understands that justice must be a priority and must be carried out properly and effectively. The Old Testament prophet Micah offered a simple key to leading justly. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:7-8).
God demands that everyone act with justice and mercy but the stakes go up when leaders are involved. Leaders have influence and decide when customers are treated fairly and their team receives equal pay for equal work. Leaders decide who is promoted, who is transferred, who is hired and who is fired. Leaders often determine who is put in danger and must sort out the morass of ethical questions with justice and fairness. Leaders must be proactive and, like Jesus in the Temple, cannot allow obvious injustice to go unchallenged.
Do you turn your back on injustice because it may put you at risk with others in positions of authority? Leaders would do well to remember a statement by former British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, “What great cause would have been fought for and won under the banner, ‘I stand for consensus’?” When a leader is proactive to bring justice to bear, there is seldom a consensus. God-honoring leaders are not afraid to confront wrongdoing and stand up for what is right.
Do you fully understand that your legacy depends on the information that guides your values? (197-3)
God-honoring values serve as a decision-making framework for use of a leader’s power and influence. Read Matthew 27:11-26.
Pontius Pilate served Rome as the Governor of Judea when Jesus was put on trial by the Jewish religious leaders. Roman law did not allow occupied states to carry out executions without approval of the Roman authorities, therefore, the Jewish leaders needed Pilates approval to have Jesus put to death. Pilate acknowledged Jesus’ innocence (Luke 23:4), yet still had Him crucified. Pilate’s values determined how he used his power and influence. Pilate possessed the power to do what was right but was more concerned about his political career and pleasing the Jewish leaders under his jurisdiction than doing what was morally right.
Values are uncompromisable core truths that drive a leader’s behavior. Only when leaders value truth will they speak truth. Only when leaders value honesty will they strive to be honest. Values are the “why” behind leaders’ actions. Leaders must carefully choose their source of values because values place boundaries around behavior and they direct a leader’s decisions. Only when leaders have sought and developed God-honoring values will they use their power in a way that honors God and receives assures the benefit of God’s promises.
Like Pilate in today’s verses, leaders will choose every day how they use their power and influence. Pilate looked to the world for his moral values and became confused by self-interest, social conditions and volatile situations. Pilate had values that centered on self. Pilates’ values directed him to do what was best for his career and for his own convenience. Pilates’ values ultimately have this once powerful man with a legacy throughout history of a weakling. Developing God-honoring values is critical if a leader is to maintain control and direct their influence in productive ways.
Have you established your core truths and resulting values from the Word of God or from the rules generated by society? Do you fully understand that your legacy, and perhaps the legacy of your children (see Exodus 34:7), depends on the source of information that guides your values? The wise leader understands that rejecting the moral high ground will rarely produce a good outcome over the long haul.
Leaders must do the right thing for the right reason. Matthew 6:1-34.
Jesus challenges the people claiming to serve the One True God saying they were doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. In verse one He says, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Jesus called people who practice this kind of morality hypocrites. He used the word three times in this chapter (vv. 2, 5, and 16). Three times people are cited for violating their integrity by doing something only for the appearance.