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"Honoring God in the Morning"
How do we function under ungodly leaders? (102-2)
Written by Barry-Werner on December 29th, 2009. Posted in 1 Kings, 1 Timothy, 2 Kings, Authority, Character, New Testament, Old Testament, Personal Development, Power and Influence, Relationships, Romans, Values.
A fact that we all know but never really want to speak out loud is that sometimes selfish, angry, bullies become leaders in positions of authority. Read 1 Kings 19:1-2 and 1 Kings 21.
King Ahab of Israel married Jezebel, daughter of the King of Tyre. To put it mildly, Jezebel was not the kind of woman one would feel comfortable taking home to meet mother. This wicked queen was a power-hungry, abusive, scary woman. To get the complete picture of this leader read 1 Kings 16-21 and 2 Kings 9 but the assigned passages will give a quick overview.
After her father arranged her marriage to Ahab to ratify a treaty, Jezebel became a force to reckon with in Israel. She imported 450 prophets of her god, Baal from her home country. Jezebel sent these prophets on a murderous rampage against the prophets of Israel’s God. Many of the true prophets of Israel were killed and others had to flee for their lives and hide in caves while Jezebel’s prophets saturated the land with worship of her god Baal.
God sent Elijah to publicly confront the false prophets. After they were proven to be false prophets and were defeated and executed by the people, Jezebel’s reaction was to turn on Elijah to attempt to kill him. And, another brutal act as recorded in today’s scripture, Jezebel had a solid citizen of Israel falsely accused and executed so her husband could have his vineyard. She was even allowed to scorn her husband, the king of Israel, for his failure to take ungodly action to get what he wanted.
This is a picture of a leader with unlimited power, unrestrained by conscience, unchallenged by authority. Such leaders are dangerous! There will be times you will see these leaders functioning in every role from playground bullies to parents, teachers, bosses, supervisors and dictators.
How do we function under such a leader? The following are a few suggestions:
- Don’t compromise your own character or core values. See 21:25, “There was never a man like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife.” Godly leaders do not fluctuate with the current authority.
- Lead in a smaller circle. Limit some of your 360 degree leadership and function as a positive role model and mentor to those directly in your sphere of influence.
- Avoid unnecessary confrontation. Choose your battles carefully and take your stands for values in areas that are widely accepted and difficult to question i.e. character elements such as integrity, honesty, etc.
- Document your actions to remove opinion or manipulation at a later date.
- Lead primarily by example. Words have a way of inflaming angry, abusive leaders but, while a good example may frustrate them, a good example is hard to condemn.
- Learn from the situation. God made no mistake in your life by placing you where you are. God develops Christian leaders under all conditions.
- Try to understand how this difficult leader thinks and functions. What makes them angry; what will they tolerate, etc? Become an expert on the individual. This will keep conflict to a minimum and your influence to a maximum for your immediate team.
- For the Christian leader, pray, pray, pray! God is still on His throne and no puny human bully can change that. The Bible records what happened to Jezebel in God’s timing.
- Seek God’s will about staying in your position or changing positions. Don’t automatically cut and run unless God leads you to do so. Be extremely careful not to leave a situation that God may be using to prepare you for a much larger leadership role in the future.
Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.