It’s been said that monkeys dislike humans the most because humans look most like them. People who have major issues with their leaders are often those who either have a very strong personality and conviction or see in the leaders the same traits that they have and struggle with. Often, it is because of our competitive and prideful spirit or the uneasiness of seeing the reflection of our own unwanted image through the leaders that we have a hard time liking and following the leaders.
Every once in a while, I hear from people that so and so said that I am like a dictator. Some people think that I am a strong man of conviction. So, they like me. They feel led and protected by me. Others think that I am a strong man of conviction. So, they dislike me. They feel pressured by me. As far as I know, I don’t think I have a split personality. I don’t deal with people in two different ways. I don’t preach two different messages. It is the same me that everyone sees and the same message that I preach that everyone hears on Sunday.
It goes without saying that I have so much to learn and grow to become more like Christ. I still struggle with impatience that at times leads to frustration and anger in my life. And if you are having difficulty with me due to this trait, I am truly sorry and I sincerely apologize. I am not there yet, but with God’s help, I will surely get there one day and become more like Christ in His character.
However, I also thought about some things that I do or say that may cause some to feel like I am a dictator. One could be due to my conviction about the Bible. The reason why I have become a Baptist while I was studying at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which was founded as a training school for Baptist pastors more than 100 years ago but now has become one of the leading evangelical seminaries, was because I appreciated the way Baptists view the Bible.
There are some teachings in the Bible that are not so easy to have a consensus from every Christian. Much of this has to do with our limited understanding of time. But as long as certain positions can be supported by the Bible, Baptists respect them and embrace the differences of conviction to exist in the body of Christ. On the other hand, there are some clear teachings in the Bible. And on these, Baptists are firm and uncompromising.
I am a Baptist. I am both flexible and firm depending on the teachings of the Bible. And perhaps this may cause some to feel like I am a dictator. Some may want me to be firm on certain issues but I am not because I don’t see that there is only one way of looking at them. Others may want me to be flexible on other issues but I am firm because I don’t see any other way of looking at them.
Another one may be due to my conviction about being a servant-leader. A servant is someone who makes others successful. My goal as your pastor is to help you hear from God, “Good and faithful servant!” on that final day. So, after doing my best to live a life of example, I pray, preach, teach, set policies and guidelines, encourage, persuade, listen, talk, counsel, chastise and even raise my voice to train and prepare you to be successful in the eyes of God. I know that people don’t like to hear the truth because it hurts. But truth also heals. I don’t speak the truth to hurt New Life but to heal and make her successful. I am called to be a servant-leader and therefore, I can’t just easily give up on those who don’t seem to be concerned about their eternity. Instead, I say the things that you don’t want to hear and I ask you to do the things that you don’t want to do because I am committed to your spiritual success.
Some say I am like a dictator…
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