An arm-chair-quarterback was sharing her opinions about a prominent Christian leader the other day. I’d never heard of the leader (or the quarterback) before, so she could have been totally right. But she made a statement that bothered me.
“I think [Christian] leaders should be held at a higher standard, even more than the lay members.”
I guess. Yeah. But not really.
Because when we say that leaders are called to a “higher” standard, it implies that the rest of us are called to a lesser standard. And that just doesn’t work for me.
I mean, think of it like this:
I worked at Wal-Mart for 3 hellish months (OK, it was 3 mildly aggravating months). And there was not one standard for the managers because they were “leadership” and another for the regular employees.
The company never said, “If you’re management, you must come to work on time, but if you’re a cashier, you can come in 20 minutes late.” No. Or, “Management is not allowed to steal from the cash registers, but if you’re only part time, we look the other way.” No.
They had company policies. It didn’t matter your role or how many smiley stickers you handed out, you still had to wear a shirt to work. You had to show up for your shift. You couldn’t beat your coworkers up. You couldn’t sell alcohol to minors. Stuff like that.
And the Kingdom of heaven is no different. We all work for the same company and we all have to follow company policy. Yeah, some of us have roles that require more responsibility, or more time, or more skills than others of us.
But. None of us are allowed to sin. Leaders or non-leaders. We’re called to be perfect, like God. Dead to the flesh. Free from sin. And if we do sin, we all receive the same grace. And are all made the same righteousness of Christ.
So, back to this whole, “Leaders are called to a higher standard” bit. Why do we say that? I mean, most of us have probably spouted something akin to it at some point. I know I have. So, why?
Because it makes us feel better. Just like any form of judgementalism, it lets us think we’re really doing OK. If so-and-so is a leader and she just checked into rehab, then my little gossip problem isn’t too much to be worried about.
And guys, Jesus is so beautiful. The grace and forgiveness He’s extended to us is nothing we could even remotely deserve. Let’s just quit trying to play this little “God grades on a curve” game and live our lives in response to the love He’s lavished on us.