Truth is one of the highest forms of love, and love is the wellspring from which Christian leadership must flow. Our call and design to lead is more than simply achieving an endeavor or accomplishing a goal with others. We lead by the influence of our character and the power of imprint that it leaves on those who join us.
I have experienced rich personal growth from the influence of many leaders, some even life-transforming. I have also experienced the opposite—bruises left by betrayal, abuse, or dishonesty. I have had to forgive, examine my own heart, and move forward without being overwhelmed by a trusted leader’s wrong actions. No doubt, most everyone can say the same. Leaders are people and people are fallible. We all make mistakes. We are prone to misperceptions, miscalculations, and miscommunication. And while we can never prevent what another does, we can learn from those situations to better our own character as leaders.
One thing I have learned to greatly value in leadership is not the glory of perfection, but sincerity and truthfulness. A good leader not only takes responsibility for what she says and does, but also works to make sure her words ring true without deception or falsehood. Years ago, a person’s word was held in high esteem. Contracts could be made with a handshake, because truth and integrity were supremely valued. In today’s world, however, dishonesty and falsehood are, unfortunately, a common practice in every realm from civic leaders to corporate heads to education halls—and even among spiritual leaders. I, too, have had to learn to be careful that my words are sincere and not hype or misleading.
Leaders are visionaries with goals to accomplish, and falsehoods can be an easy tool to manipulate people and circumstances for personal agendas. Another word for falsehood is a lie. It is a form of communication that works to control outcomes by creating false perspectives and expectations—ones that are often intentionally never realized. Telling a “little white lie” now and then may seem unimportant to some, but such thinking can lead to a lifestyle of deception. And deception is a work of darkness.
As Christian leaders, we are to be conformed to the image of the Son as people of integrity and love without pretense. Sincere and truthful words show others that we value them. After all, God loved us so much that He sent us the Truth, and Jesus loves us enough to lead us in truth and give us His Spirit of truth. Truth and sincerity are the foundations of a true relationship, and leadership is about relationships.
In a world clouded with deceptive gimmicks and illusory means to get something, let us walk in the light with humble hearts as leaders who love enough to speak with words that are honest and true. In so doing, we achieve more than desired goals with what we do; we help shape lives with who we are.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Oh Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
J. Nicole Williamson is an inspirational speaker, author, and CEO of King’s Lantern International, a motivational ministry. Certified with AACC and a licensed minister with a Bachelor of Theology, she trains in personal development through empowered thinking, authentic identity, and intimacy with God. Her books include The Empowered Woman, Heaven’s Secret of Success, and Freedom in the Light. She and her husband live in the Dallas, Texas area. For more information, see www.kingslantern.com.