Leadership is difficult, especially when it involves reproof, warning, and discipline, and it often does. We all prefer to be liked. We would rather be popular than unpopular, but this can get in the way of helping those we should be leading. It is a snare into which any leader can fall, from a father and mother to a policeman to a pastor. Recently I read about a grizzly bear attack in a national park in America. The two people who were killed worked at the park, and they had been instructed and warned about how to conduct themselves around bears, but the leaders (in this case, park rangers and concession managers) didn’t always enforce the rules. Of one of these it was said that he “was highly popular with his employees; his manner tended to be light and jocular.” And though he “laid down the law to” about bear safety, he didn’t follow through with enforcement. When informed that his female employees were ignoring his “law” and walking at night near the bears for romantic interludes, he “threw up his hands” and said “there was a limit to how much advice one could hand out without becoming a bore, and he felt he had reached the limit.” His motive was to be popular and not be a “bore.” In this particular case, the girls in question were not killed by bears, but two others were. We all want to be “liked,” but true love exercises godly reproof and discipline. The Bible says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” (Proverbs 13:24). The wise parent who loves his child will correct and chasten him even though it is difficult, because the parent cares more about the child and his relationship with God and character and future than he does about his own feelings and conveniences. This is one of the great motivations for a pastor to exercise discipline. Discipline is never easy, not for the giver nor for the recipient, but it is necessary in this fallen world, and when done right according to God’s Word, it is an act of great love. One wise man said, “He who reproves me gives me a gold coin.”


(Friday Church News Notes, January 23, 2015, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)