Expect Conflict and Criticism

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Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” – Mark 2:06

Not everyone will like you.

Some won’t like the way you teach, or what you teach. Your leadership style may annoy some people. How you handle yourself will make some people angry. Even if you do the right thing some people will attack you – not because of what you did, but because how you did it.

You will often feel like a failure because of criticism.

Most of the criticism will not be to your face, but in conversations about you without you. It won’t be just from people you dislike you. It will be from people who like you, people you like, and people who don’t give a rat’s ass about you. Personal attacks will occur. This will make you feel like quitting, often. Leadership brings a entirely new brand of suffering.

You will feel lonely.

You will feel lonely because you will be alone. This is mainly because you will make yourself alone. You can’t trust your feelings to your colleagues and followers so you keep them bottled up. You can’t tell you spouse or family because you want to protect them from the stress. You can’t go public with your condition because that opens a whole new set of struggles.

Still ready to lead? I thought so. Thank God that you are still naïve enough to believe that those things won’t happen to you. But they will. And you will handle it, and rise above it! For it’s not what people do to you or say about you that will determine your wellbeing. It will be how you manage your heart. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

The leadership life of Jesus was inflicted with the same struggles. They didn’t like his theology. “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” they grumbled in Mark 2:7. “Why does he eat with sinners?” His own family said, “He is out of His mind,” and they tried to take him away. (Mark 3:21)

Check out these other verses. Write down your thoughts. What kind of criticism is being imposed on Jesus? What were they calling into question?

Mark 2:18 – Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”

Mark 2:24 – The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Mark 3:2 – Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.

Mark 3:22 – And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

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