Monday, July 3, 2017

A leader's demeanor

There has been much in the news about President Trump's latest tweet showing him wrestling someone with a CNN image over his face. This video came from a WestleMania match several years ago when Trump attacked WWE owner Vince McMahon ringside. Of course, it was all staged as part of a script that led to McMahon's head being shaved. In today's tweet the CNN logo was placed over McMahon's face. CNN and other news agencies attacked the tweet as inciting violence against news reporters.

While I believe the tweet was unfortunate, as is most of his tweets, I certainly did not feel the need to run out and attack a journalist after watching it. Once again, the news media overreacted as did many others in the nation. There are people calling for the President to be evaluated for mental health issues and many others calling for his impeachment. There are some people who cannot accept the fact that he won the election and will not rest until he is out of office. My guess is that they will spend the next four years, and possibly eight years, being miserable.

The reason I said it was unfortunate is because it was another stupid tweet from the President of the United States. If he had hired someone to run one of his companies, and everyday that individual spent time putting silly and/or offensive things on social media he or she would be fired.

President Trump needs to understand that the major media will never accept his presidency. He was not supposed to win. They all backed Hillary Clinton who was supposed to win in a landslide, especially over Donald Trump. They ridiculed his candidacy even as he defeated one opponent after another. Trump will never have the support of the media. He needs to ignore them and get on with leading the nation.

I realize it's not easy for the Donald to take criticism, but he's now the President of the United States. Criticism goes with the territory. It goes with being a leader. Leaders cannot take the time to respond to every critic and negative comment. The best way to respond to a critic is not to respond to his or her comments but to lead in such a way that they are proven wrong.

What is true for the current president is also true for those of us in church leadership. We are going to be criticized at times. Pastors are often people-pleasers, but the reality is that we are not going to please everyone. Leaders have to make tough decisions which are not always going to be popular. Those decisions will sometimes lead to criticism. Sometimes it's important that we investigate the criticism to see if there is some truth in it that we can use to make better decisions in the future, but other times we just need to ignore the critic and continue doing the work God has called us to do.

The demeanor of the leader is also important, and that is the second reason I found today's tweet unfortunate. It's time President Trump starting acting presidential. Many of his tweets and comments are anything but presidential but come across as childish and immature. He did not become a successful businessman by acting this way, and he will not enjoy a successful term of office acting this way either.

As pastors, our demeanor is also important if we want people to take us serious. Anyone who knows me will tell you I enjoy joking around. I really do not take myself very seriously, but I do take my calling as a pastor seriously. For any leader to be successful it's important to treat people with respect and dignity. This is especially true for those who have offended us or criticized us. Failing to do that only gives our critics more ammunition to use against us.

Leaders never lose by taking the high road and conducting themselves with integrity and grace.

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