There’s no crying in baseball, a la “A League of Their Own.” And there’s no crying in leadership. At least not the kind that goes with “I’m losing and other people shouldn’t do that to me.”
Here is a reply that I posted at a blog where the author rather constantly bemoans what has happened to him for taking a stand. To me that can sound like a soldier getting all weepy because someone shot at him. Yet, it’s no fun. And bullets hurt. But don’t be surprised that when you shoot, someone shoots back.
The more influence one wants to have, the greater the dangers!! That is the way it has to be, not just the way it is. People who move toward maximum influence have responsibilities that people who do not who stay beneath the radar for either safety purposes or because they have no motivation to influence larger numbers of people. We expect people “at the top” to steward the troubled waters of public opinion in a way that takes into account, not their freedom, but their influence. This doesn’t mean that they do not stir the pot. It means that they can’t cry when the pot stirs back. This is not just true in Evangelicalism. This is just how it works – politics, the arts, culture, etc. I am always amazed at how fragile people “at the top” are. They seem to expect Matthew 18 to mean that all criticism is to be in private even if they are operating at the public level. In other words, I can write books, be interviewed, speak across the airwaves, etc., but all return criticism has to be personal, careful, and under the radar. I know it gets hard and brutal. I am a Pastor. Being criticized in blunt ways goes with the territory. How I handle that criticism is part of my ministry. I have some responsibility to manage it. I can make it worse, and sometimes I do need to do that. But I should not make it worse unless it is a good thing to do. Like Jesus did. Somethings he let go and somethings he didn’t. He made it worse. His opponents didn’t make it worse. He did. He meant to. And then he went through what he had to go through when he made it worse. Self-preservation can’t be part of that deal, not if you want to influence the public. So, no kidding about taking the career track that leads you to the public life. Once it happens to you, don’t be surprised at the stuff. You’ll be responsible for handling dynamics and forces you didn’t even know was there. When you corner and threaten people, at least as they see it, all bets are off. Trying to change people is not for cowards. It’s life threatening.