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  • John Whitehead

Lording Not Leading

We are seeing the rise of authoritarianism all over our world. Nations which have long stood for democratic principles are being led by academic and political elitest who’s stated goal is to establish a new world order. An order where the common people submit themselves to the will of their betters.


The irony is this nothing new, this is feudalism, and it has been tried and failed before.

This practice is not limited to authoritarians in government either. We see these types of elitists mindsets in the home and workplace. It begins the same way in each situation as people appear to see themselves as lords over those they have influence over.


The goal of people like these are most always the same. It is to impose their will. The problem with this mindset is it lends itself to lording and lording is not leading.


Historically, people have never responded well to the idea of being lorded over. In fact, great revolutions have risen to subvert the desires of people who see themselves as the arbiters of right and wrong.


The end results have never been favorable to those who see themselves as lords.


Knowing this is true, what do you suppose leads people to practice these same principles time after time?


I believe the answer is timeless as it points to ego and insecurity. This, when combined with a thirst for power and the desire to control those you have power over, fuels this desire to be in control.


Today, the method being used to lord over people is seen in the willingness to silence dissent, promote immorality and demonize those who disagree. Division is the tool being used with great effectiveness as people are divided across every possible line.


The problem is division also leads to dissatisfaction and dissatisfied people are very difficult to control.


In fact, as dissatisfaction grows, so does disobedience. This is a problem because obedience is required to control those being lorded over and disobedience will always lead to anger and frustration which perpetuates dissatisfaction and leads unrest.


As discontent grows, leading becomes almost non-existent as lording dominates the mindsets of those in power.


The counter to this is leading, not lording. Here is where people follow willingly because they understand the leader has their best interest at heart. They know this because a true leader places the will and wellbeing of others above their own.


The question for me in recent years has been where are the leaders? Where are the ones who see serving others as their responsibility instead of being served as their right? What has happened to create an environment of lord minded people with limited capacities to lead.


The answer may be, we have all become consumed with consumption and the results are a willingness to follow anyone who promises us more for ourselves. This is where being served by our leaders gives way to being subject to them.


How do we counter this paradigm? We focus on following servant leaders and becoming one ourselves.


To do so, we must find a model to emulate. Fortunately, we have such a model. His name is Jesus of Nazareth. He is the greatest servant leader of all. His life is a model of servanthood and sacrifice. His method is in direct contrast to “lording not leading”. His method is “leading not lording”.


That method has led to the greatest movement in human history. That movement is the Church of Jesus Christ, and it is still growing two thousand years later.

Will the world ever choose His method? It doesn’t take much to see the answer is clearly no. So, what can we do about it?


We can begin to lead those we have been placed in a position to influence with a servant mindset. When we do, we will become more like Jesus and lording will be the last thing on our minds!


Matthew 20:28, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”



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