In the Book of Jeremiah, God spoke out very strongly to those who operated in their own authority while abusing and demeaning the very people they were supposed to bless and mentor.
“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely! And, the priests rule through their own false power; and My people choose to let it happen! But what will you do in the end?” Jeremiah 5:30-31.
Leaders were using their influence to convince people that THEIR power was divine. BUT, in reality, these imitator prophets and priests were selfishly posturing and forcing their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming that “they were speaking for God”.
The people bought the lies and believed all the promises that were made!
But… they were controlled and manipulated.
This happened in the Old Testament and it’s still happening today. Don’t let it happen to you!
Here is a list of some common characteristics of a controlling, abusive leader, be it a boss, a minister, an employer or the director or leader of an organization .
- Preoccupied with his/her own needs being met, while the needs of the people are ignored.
- Focuses on his/her own never-ending quest for personal fulfillment and happiness, while the real needs of the people are lost or forgotten. Mocks the “little people” who are less wonderful than them.
- Dangerous person.
- Expects the people to obey his/her every command without question.
- Preaches about his/her spiritual authority every week, constantly reminding everyone that he/she is “Large and in charge!”
- Tries to take the place of Jesus in people’s lives. (e.g. “I am your leader. I hear from God for you before you hear from God!”)
- Tells people they cannot leave the Church or Organization with God’s blessing unless he/she approves the decision. (Look out… the ‘shame train’ has your name on it if you DARE to leave.)
- Uses scripture in order to gain biblical ground to control and dominate people’s lives.
- Forces a sense of obligation to be owed by reminding the people of everything he/she has done for them.
- DEMANDS loyalty and honor from the people.
- Demands performance from people, not accepting them for who they are or when they may need simple restoration before being expected to “put out”!
- Thinks the people in his/her congregation or organization belong to him/her. (e.g. My congregation. MY followers.)
- Manipulates people into giving their money. (e.g. If you don’t tithe, you are not worthy of God’s blessings.)
- Has an elitist attitude and says that no one else is preaching the solid gospel like they do. (e.g. I have a unique and quite a special affect on people with my exceptional personality and insights.)
- Overly concerned with appearances. (Talks about their daily exercise and eating fixations regiments. Insinuates that their followers SHOULD be doing the same. Look good, make ME look good.)
- Has no respect for other churches or denominations, nor other leadership styles. (e.g. If it’s not dynamic and “powerful” and shaking the people up, it’s old school and not attracting go-getters!)
- Is insecure, jealous and a coward when confronted about poor communication or shaming tactics. (This shows the seething hidden rage and entitlement of an egotistical soul.)
- Uses fear and intimidation to keep people from leaving his/her organization or church. (Suspicion and subtle behind the scenes smear tactics ensure that anyone who chooses to fellowship elsewhere will be shunned.)
If the above (not complete by any means!) list troubles you, know this….
…..Grace filled leaders genuinely love to “love on” others.
Words of encouragement, acts of kindness, they help in crisis. They are lovers of people because people matter to God.
When opportunities to help others come across their path they do what they can to help, to love and encourage.
Grace filled people develop and nurture generous (instead of critical spirits) towards others. There is plenty to be critical over in others, just as Christ could be deeply critical about us.
But! Like Him, we choose to love rather than criticize and instead, nurture and develop/encourage a spirit of acceptance! (A critical spirit is really a spirit of non-acceptance). Critical spirits also come from our own pride.
Grace filled leaders speak with kind, encouraging, and loving words. Words that lift us, words that encourage us, words that build up, words that quiet anger. People leave after being around them, with a greater sense of their worth, knowing that they are loved.
Grace filled leaders always point people toward the source of all grace — Jesus. They are not content to just “be people of grace” but want others to know the source of that grace. They love to introduce others to the the ONE from whom all grace flows! Jesus!
I absolutely wish for more of this kind of grace in my life and I wish for this kind of grace to be evident and fully put into operative example in all churches and Christian organizations.
“God saved you and I by his grace when we believed. And we can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
Duplication and sharing of this writing is welcomed as long as complete message and website information for Mary Lindow is included. Thank You!
Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.