Meekness VS Weakness
My Dad, when once dealing with a fellow leader who was handling some affairs in a less-than-honorable fashion, said, “Don’t mistake my meekness for weakness.”
We’ve all seen the coaches on the sidelines, ranting and screaming obscenities at the officials. I suppose a coach needs to show his team he’s fighting for them once in a while – I acknowledge that. But some coaches lead this way all the time. Tony Dungy, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts, believed that a calm, quiet leadership built respect in his men. Though many thought him weak, he stood on the platform with the Super Bowl trophy in his hand and said to the world, “This is for those who believe it can be done through my particular brand of leadership.”
I had a man recently tell me that leaders in his life have been heavy-handed. He was concerned that I was not going to continue that tradition in his life. He wanted to know that I would call him out if I felt he deserved it as a member of my team. I assured him that I would never hold back on speaking the truth to him, face to face, when needed, but that it would be in a different spirit than the experiences he told me he had encountered in the past. I said, “God knew you needed that in the past, but it was because of your immaturity. Now, God has brought you to me because it’s time for a promotion on your part.” Immature men need heavy-handed leaders. Men who know who they are and who have an understanding of the importance of authority in their lives do not need this kind of treatment. They walk in honor and get the job at hand done without someone constantly looking over their shoulder. Weak men fear they do not possess the strength they need to make it in the fray so they “fire their weapons” a lot, do a lot of screaming, and speak harshly toward those leaders who would “control them.” They believe that being in submission to authority is akin to weakness.
Swamps VS Rivers
A swamp can flow wherever it wants to go. It has no boundaries. Yet, it is stagnant at most points. Nothing can be done with it. But a river, which is bound between two rigid banks, flows in a certain direction. Its course is determined and dams have been built to harness the power of the river which provides power and light to millions of people. Which is more powerful? A bayou cannot handle a supertanker load of provision unless it has been dug deep. Only then can it host the tanker full of blessing and promotion. A would-be leader must be willing to submit to the meek (controlled strength) leadership of one who has his/her best interest at heart and let the “digging” process be completed. Then, and only then, can we qualify ourselves to be promoted as trustworthy and understanding of what true leadership and strength is all about.
A man walked into my office a number of years ago and said, “I’m sorry for disrespecting you as my leader two years ago. I brought shame to your team and this ministry. I never understood the true value of authority until I went through police academy. I ask your forgiveness.” Wow! What a great day in his life. It was the beginning of many heartbreaking moments avoided for him. What a legacy he will be able to hand down to his children if he will continue to walk in that philosophy.
We fear, so often times, being taken advantage of and feel we have to “show our teeth” to prevent it. Wolves are aggressive and sheep are unprotected accept for the shepherd. Most would choose to be the wolf. Yet, today wolves are endangered and have been on the verge of extinction while sheep populate the earth by the millions. I believe the key here is twofold: don’t be afraid to walk in meekness and make sure you’ve got a good shepherd to whom you’re accountable who’s got your back.