The great theologian Michael Scott once said, “Would I rather be feared or loved? Um… easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”
This always makes me chuckle because it rings so true.
What kind of leader is a good leader? The one who casts fear in their followers or the one that creates love? I think we would say the latter, yet so much of what we see in our institutions is the former. It’s as if we don’t really believe that it’s possible to lead from a place of love or humility.
I think one way to think about humility is to think of it as the application of love from a position of power.
What do you think? How would you define humility in the context of leadership?
This morning I read this story,
Jesus chose humility. His brothers wanted him to go do something big and public. Their assumption was that Jesus was all about becoming a public person. But, that wasn’t it at all. Jesus had a specific purpose and calling. This calling demanded humility, love applied from power.
As I grow older the greatest miracle that I think Jesus ever did was being born into the human frame. The dual nature of Christ, both God and Man, is something that is beyond remarkable and we don’t think deeply about it. It is a mystery of mysteries. Yet, it is where these two natures meet that we can find and know the true humility of Christ.
Everything that Jesus did was the application of love from a position of divine power.
This is in stark contrast to the religious leaders of his day. How did they move through the crowds? They did so through intimidation. Or as the NIV puts it, by fear.
Elsewhere in the ancient text we come across this line, “Perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)”
The application of love from the position of divine power drives out fear! Christ moved through the crowds in humility, the religious leaders did so through intimidation.
As I think about what it means to be a leader I think we need to intentionally follow the way of Jesus. Whether we are leading as parents, in business, in athletics, in school, in the church, or in any other social setting, our goal should be the application of love from the position of power.
Humility or fear? One is really hard. One is really easy. Which do you choose?