“You may make mistakes, but you are not a failure until you start blaming someone else.” ~ Mary Pickford
Leadership responsibility is both an honor and duty. Wise leaders build an inner circle of trusted friends who will encourage them and hold them accountable in their leadership responsibilities. Everyone has blind spots and it’s always an advantage to have others who “see for you” in those areas. Leaders have no one else to blame when something goes wrong. The buck stops with them. If it’s under their watch, it’s their responsibility. Not knowing is not an excuse. Here is God’s standard for those who were leaders in Israel:
If one of Israel’s leaders sins by violating one of the commands of the Lord his God but doesn’t realize it, he is still guilty. (Leviticus 4:22 NLT)
God was not going to take “I didn’t know” as an excuse. Leaders must be aware of the condition of their team and their organization. Christian leaders who desire to honor God and remain “above reproach” in all they do, must put safeguards in place in order to protect their integrity. One slip, even an innocent one, can undermine years of faithful service.
Who do you have on your team that you trust to hold you accountable? Wise leaders have other wise and trusted leaders around them. You need others to help you see more clearly and you especially need others to see for you in the areas of your blind spots. If you have the right people on your team, you will never sin and not realize it. The people around you will either keep you from making the mistake in the first place or confront you on it ASAP. Strong leaders have strong teams around them. That collective strength is essential for maintaining integrity.
Humility is also essential for integrity. Strong leaders are both humble and secure. They are not afraid to admit their mistakes. Confession and repentance are the marks of growth in the context of God’s grace. Here is one of the great promises of Scripture:
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)
God redeems that which is broken and restores it for His use and His glory. Confession is the beginning of forgiveness and restoration. Notice the final phrase of this verse: “…cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness”. That includes even the stuff we didn’t realize was sin. God is faithful in His love toward us just as a good father is in correcting his children and pointing them to success.
Take time today to evaluate the level of support and accountability you have around you. Do you have the right safeguards to protect your integrity? Do not fall into the trap of innocent guilt.