The Leadership Journey – Letters to an Intern

#4 – Be Silent … The Lord Will Fight for You

Leadership is not always supported by positive public opinion polls. Ryan, as a leader you will be criticized, people will complain about you and you will be misunderstood – you can count on it! Unfortunately, this will often come, not from the enemy, but from the people you love and lead.

Years ago one author referred to these people as well-intentioned dragons. Friendly fire is the most painful for a leader. The natural tendency will be self-defense or even to attack your critics. There is a better way.

Exodus 14 tells the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and bondage. When the Israelites saw the pursuing Egyptians they complained to Moses about Moses. “Why didn’t you leave us in Egypt? You brought us out of here to die…” Moses wisely redirected their attention to their God who would bring them salvation. And then he said to them, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)

The advice Moses gave to the Israelites is excellent advice for any leader who is criticized and misunderstood. Keep in mind these words are not a command nor are they to be applied to every situation. When the apostle Paul was attacked and his critics questioned his apostolic authority, Paul vehemently defended himself and his calling. Sometimes you will have to go to battle as a leader, but choose your battles prayerfully and carefully.

There have been times in my leadership journey where I have had to defend myself and my actions. There have been other times I have had to apologize. But there have been many times I’ve kept silent and let the Lord fight for me.

Ryan, you cannot go to battle every time you’re misunderstood. In fact, many times you will not even know that you are misunderstood. Too many leaders will get into food fights believing they are defending God’s honor when in reality they are trying to protect their fragile image.

Lean often on the wise advice of Moses. By the way, God did fight for the Israelites by opening up the Red Sea to deliver them and then closed it to swallow the Egyptian army.