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Admitting Flaws: An Essential Quality of an Authentic Christian Leader


Randy Alcorn, one of my most enjoyed inspirational Christian writers, was asked, "In your view, what are the qualities of an authentic Christian leader?" He answered, "He loves God with all his heart, is quick to admit his flaws, listens to his critics and doesn't dismiss them." I kept thinking about the second point he mentioned—"quick to admit his flaws."

As leaders in the responsibility of leading people, don't we find ourselves being quick to reject and to justify our flaws than quickly admit them?

Sad Example, Good Model
Few days back, I met a Christian brother who seemed to be quite embarrassed about approaching Christian leaders. He shared about confronting an old experienced preacher to gently offer a reasonable word of correction in regard to his preaching. The old preacher annoyingly responded to him, "It is not your age to correct me." Seeing his response, this brother was completely shattered, even afraid to approach any preacher the next time.

What a sad experience of this brother and a pathetic example modeled by that preacher!

In contrast to this brother's experience, I know an old preacher who is engaged in missions for more than twenty years. In my fellowship with him, many times he told me, "Stephen, I may be wrong. Please feel free to correct me." What a humbling experience to a young man like me to witness such humble models!

Regretfully, not many of us are as humble to accept correction and to admit our faults as this wonderful man of God! Think—how many people find it comfortable to approach us to offer correction? How many of us deny ourselves and humbly confess our sins?

Being Stupid, Being Honored
In my fifteen years of Christian life, I ought to honestly confess—not many Christian leaders love to accept correction and are quick to admit their flaws. They are great preachers but weak models in regard to admitting their faults. When it comes to correction and confession—some walk with a sense of loftiness as if they don't commit mistakes, some foolishly blame others, some adamantly justify themselves and some stay silent, putting on a sad facial expression.

Don't you suppose such reactions are unfit to Christian leaders who are called by the Living God to servant leadership?

Moreover, I found leaders who suppose by admitting their faults they lose their honor and respect among the people. What a deception! The book of Proverbs says, "He who hates correction is stupid" but "whoever heeds correction is honored" (12:1b; 13:18b). We are more stupid when we despise correction but more honored when we heed to it. In my view, there are many great leaders who lost their honor, not because of committing faults, but because of rejecting to admit them.

Heed Correction, Humbly Confess
In writing this, I am not saying I find it easy to accept correction and always admit my faults. I find admitting my flaws more hurting to my ego. There were numerous times where I justified myself and acted stupidly. Nevertheless, the Lord seriously dealt with my heart. He still does His painful surgery on my arrogant heart. Because of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in me, I am learning to sincerely admit my faults and to accept correction, even from my little kids. O, I am finding it a great blessing in my life and ministry!

Dear Christian leaders—we may be great preachers, having a great passion, possessing great talents, doing great ministry—but all these are nothing when there is no essential quality of humility to heed correction and to humbly confess our flaws. May we pray and allow God to humble us for His glory, honor and praise!

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Note: Not every correction may be valid. However, we need to humbly consider the correction given to us, honestly examine our heart and then gently respond with appropriate answer.
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Comments

  1. lovely piece of thought, gentle and insightful. Thank you and God bless you.

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