Monday, February 17, 2014

I Sustain and Support Leaders IN Their Humanity, Not By Ignoring It

I was having a conversation with a friend a while ago, and he said the following about sustaining and supporting church leaders: 

I suppose the real trick is accepting their humanity while still following them as though their counsel and directives were somehow immune to being influenced by that same humanity.

I disagree with his wording - fundamentally - and told him so. I think the key is to support and sustain leaders (with the exception of when there is real abuse happening) while understanding fully that their counsel and directives often are flawed by their humanity (just as mine often is) - and sustaining and supporting them even when what they say or do is not what I would say or do (again, with the same disclaimer as above).

As I've said multiple times here, I have loved my former Stake Presidents and Bishops. They were good men, doing the best they could to serve the Lord and the people for whom they had stewardship. I didn't see eye-to-eye with them on a number of things, but they were doing the best they could to do the best they could - and that's pretty much all I can ask.  

I sustained and supported them specifically because of their humanity (because they needed sustenance and support IN their humanity) - and if they asked me to do something that I simply couldn't do in good conscience, I would tell them so. I  have expressed concern over some suggestions in various callings over the years, and I have offered only qualified support in some cases - basically saying, "I don't agree with what you are proposing, but I will support you if you move forward." That's the best I can do - and all of them have appreciated my honesty and integrity in those cases.

I believe that anything less is not truly sustaining and supporting real people, which is the principle underlying what we are asked to do. 

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