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Jesus-Bold Leader

On our Weekend, we were called to show bold leadership to evangelize and transform the environments within the institutions we operate in—ultimately to Christianize society. Whether we were natural leaders or not, we were challenged to take responsibility to accomplish Jesus’ mission. We were asked to demonstrate a spirit of initiative in reaching out boldly to others to bring them to Jesus.

Likewise, Jesus was a bold leader. He had the audacity to ask men to leave their businesses for an unknown future. Jesus called Peter and Andrew to leave their fishing nets behind and they left their nets at once and went with Him. Mt 5:19ff. Nor did Jesus mince words with the Scribes and Pharisees, calling them “white-washed sepulchers”, “blind guides” and a “brood of vipers”. He confronted their injustice of pretending to be for God when they were only for themselves and their position. We need Jesus as a model of a bold leader, because the human tendency is to take this good quality and push it to an extreme, causing us to turn people away from Jesus rather than to Him.

Human Way. We take our efforts to be bold leaders for Christ to an extreme when we go around looking for a fight or when we tend to step on people’s toes. Or when we assert ourselves at the expense of others. Or when we hold up ourselves as though the whole world is supposed to focus on us. Yes, we can respond with a strong sense of justice when that is required, but we cannot allow ourselves to be cantankerous. The real pitfall occurs when we like to be not only against others but also over others. In that mindset we are using authoritarianism to gain control over others. Not a way to live a life of radical love for others or manifest the Christ within us to evangelize others.

Jesus Way. Jesus’ bold leadership struck a balance. On the one hand, He had a strong sense of justice and was ready to confront the powers that be. Jesus could see through those who used violence to exert their influence or defend their position, and He had the courage to bring their evil to light. On the other hand, Jesus saw real strength in non-violence, for the Spirit works through our gentleness in the face of oppression by others. This is especially evident when He allowed Himself to be vulnerable in His passion and death. As Jesus told Peter, “all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Mt 26:52.He cautioned His followers: “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot destroy the soul”. Mt 10:28.

Remedies. We take the virtue of bold leadership to an extreme when we exercise our compulsion to be judge over others and are super-confident in our knowledge of what is just. It is at these times that we must draw on our virtue of compassion, being fully present in a caring, attentive way to the other so as to receive the presence and giftedness of the other. We need to offer ourselves totally as self-gift with the expectancy that we will discover the giftedness of the other. Since we are totally committed to the other, we suspend judgment of the other and see the other in an entirely different light. Our compassion will eliminate the excessive aggressiveness in our efforts to be bold leaders.

A good question for us as bold leaders to ask ourselves when we confront injustice or immorality in others is: “Am I confronting the others in ways that will lead them to repent, or am I simply seeking to prevail over those who are doing wrong?” This question presupposes that we have taken the time to learn what kind of a person we are confronting and what makes him or her tick.

Prayer should play an important role in our efforts to bring another to repentance. First, prayer for ourselves that the Spirit might enlighten and guide us that we have a correct sense of the situation, and prayer for the other that the Spirit might grant His light.