Scripture: Matthew 16:21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Observation: Just prior to this passage, Peter was affirmed by Jesus for having correctly identified him, not as another prophet of God, but as the Messiah – son of the living God. Here, he is rebuked for resisting Jesus’ acknowledgment that he will soon die, but will rise again. It’s clear that Jesus applies both encouragement/support as well as rebuke/challenge to develop his “disciples” (followers) into “apostles” (leaders in their own right).
Application: This is a great example for those of us who are leaders at any level – home, work, school, wherever. To lead well, we need to apply both support and challenge. That said, most of us tend to gravitate more toward one than the other. For some people, encouragement/support comes very naturally. We find it easy to affirm others, but find it hard to confront people when correction is needed. Others of us have no problem confronting people, but affirmation does not come as naturally. People around us can feel beat-up. I tend to gravitate more to affirmation by nature. I’ve had to learn to bring challenge when it’s appropriate. I’m still a work in progress. Here are some questions for this morning:
Which comes more naturally for you – affirmation or challenge?
How does your affinity for one over the other cause problems for you as a leader?
What would it look like for you to be a more balanced leader?
Who can you talk with who can give you feedback on your leadership style?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you are a great example of effective leadership. You certainly led with lots of love in your relationships. But having successfully demonstrated your love for people, you weren’t afraid to challenge them when needed. Give us grace to bring balance to our leadership style so that we can bless those whom we lead. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.