We all have leaders in one form or another – they’re bosses or pastors or teachers or parents or public figures, etc. And the chances of agreeing with our leaders 100% of the time is zero. I know I’ve disagreed with my leader before – I’m sure you have too.
When I was a pastor, I used to tell my congregation, “If you haven’t disagreed with me yet, you just haven’t been here long enough.” Because nobody agrees with anyone else all the time – even if we love them (and especially if we don’t).
So…what should we do when we disagree? We live in a society that has taught us to rant when we disagree with someone or something. And our human nature is to tell people (loudly and clearly) when we disagree, in an effort to find people to take our side. But most of the time that just inflames the situation – it doesn’t solve anything. And it’s not God’s way.
Wait a minute – you mean God cares about this? I think so. I think He knew we humans would disagree with each other, and gave instruction for when it happens. Does the Bible have something to say about what to do when we disagree with our leader?
Yes, I believe it does. Here are some things to think about...
- First, understand that no leader is perfect – they all make mistakes. As one minister says, leaders are “deficient by design.” Every leader needs help in order to fulfill his calling and/or job description. Moses needed Aaron, David needed the mighty men, Elijah needed Elisha, Paul needed Barnabas and then Silas. Instead of attacking a leader’s weakness, consider that maybe you’re one who is supposed to be helping to undergird that weakness.
- Remember who sees the big picture (your leader) and who doesn’t (that would be you). As a helper or employee or citizen, we are the steward of someone else’s vision. When God wants something done, He raises up a leader. He also raises up someone to help the leader. We are God’s Army, there’s a rank & file, a divine order (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12:18; Heb. 13:17). You’ll be happiest and most effective when you operate in your role.
- The Bible says that we are not to speak against a leader (Exodus 22:28). In Acts 23 when Paul stood before the Counsel at Jerusalem, suddenly the High Priest ordered the guards to hit him across the mouth, which understandably made Paul angry. He yelled at the High Priest, calling him a “whitewashed wall.” But when the men close to Paul whispered, “That’s God’s High Priest you’re talking to,” Paul immediately acquiesced saying, “I didn’t know, I’m sorry. The scripture says ‘you must not speak evil of the ruler of your people.’” Even though the High Priest was acting unfairly toward Paul, Paul adhered to the Word and apologized. Romans 13:1 says we are all to be in subjection to those in authority over us – God put them there.
- It’s not our place to correct our leader (unless we are specifically in position, or called upon, to do so). We are to honor them. When we disagree with them, we need to talk to God about it. He is the one who put them into position. So cast the care onto Him and expect Him to move in your situation (1 Peter 5:7).
- When you disagree with your leader, don’t be a part of strife and division. The devil knows the power that lies in unity, so he works overtime to divide. Proverbs 6:19 says one thing God hates is when someone stirs up strife among the brethren. Don’t be a tool that devil uses to complain to others about your leader.
- When you disagree: (1) Keep it to yourself -- Proverbs 13:3. (2) Pray. Remember, our trust is not in our leader’s ability but in God’s -- Proverbs 3:5,6. (3) Ask yourself “is it appropriate to communicate with my leader?” Is the decision negotiable? If not, submit. Also, remember two things: it’s the leader’s leadership style that determines the dialogue; and, timing is everything. (4) If necessary, go to their accountability. (5) Leaving is a last resort, and only if you’re led by God. Never leave offended.
Take action: Take some time right now to pray for the leaders in your life – your president, pastor, boss. Pray over situations that are happening right now, or pray proactively for them – wisdom, guidance, provision, and protection.