This post summarizes the main ideas of a long series of 17 posts on Servant vs Beastly Leadership. This concludes a subseries of 5 on American beastly leadership.
Servant leadership I equate with the “Lamb” leadership of Christ.
This has been long series because the topic is vital for current understanding that is confusing bad and good leadership, and between “beastly” vs “godly” approaches to influence.
I have contrasted these two approaches using every approach I could find: scriptural, theological, as well as contemporary research and sociology.
My essential argument is that servant leadership works through the processes of service, mutual submission, sacrifice and sober judgment to create more effective processes and outcomes. It breeds transparency, freedom and social well-being. It helps the marginalized. It gives us itself for the good of others. It is exemplified in Jesus, who perfectly revealed God’s approach.
Beastly leadership foists on others deception, rejects both grace or truth, and uses abusive words and behaviors to deal with disagreement. It doesn’t listen, or if it does, it listens to find something to “pounce” on in the other person. It suppresses dialogue and feeds on the evil appetite growing in many cultures to place leaders above law and morality.
It ultimately convinces itself it is right and then justifies its behaviors to others by lying, falsifying, intimidating and then resorting to eliminating enemies by abusive and murderous action.
Beastly leadership fosters this culture because of a singular pursuit of greatness and desire for fame or fortune. Beastly leaders creates a “lord-it-over” climate that fosters executive privileges within cultures of corruption because of its lack of shared authority, respect for others, and monarchical or kingly control (see 1 Sam 8).
Servant leadership focuses on the well being of others.
The servant leadership seen in Jesus, demonstrated by Samuel and fostered by many others (Martin Luther King, Jr., Ghandi, etc.) is effective but operates where the conscience (super-ego) is developed and able to counterbalance the id (drive) and ego (goal attaining) aspects of the individual.
Beastly leadership takes root and thrives in places where the law and/or love of God has been rejected. As Isaiah reported:
“But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD” (Is 26:10).
A rejection of grace or truth, either one, creates a vacuum that invites a culture with an appetite for distortion and aggrandizement, showmanship and blitz, instead of humble service. If either grace or truth are absent, spiritual insight, moral maturity, and social and political wisdom quickly atrophy.
I have tried in this series to explain my concern for the weakening state of true moral leadership in our families, churches and nations.
Only when we keep talking about service, mutual submission, voluntary sacrifice, and a belief in an ultimate judgment (both formative and summative), do we create a culture that has safeguards AGAINST beastly leadership and FOR servant leadership.
In the Trinity, we have the ultimate revelation of servant leaders. The relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit creates the submission all need to lead in social groups. The Holy Spirit doesn’t talk about himself, but Jesus. Jesus doesn’t seek his own will but the will of the Father. And the Father so loves the world he gives up his son to be the redeemer of that rebellious world. That is servant leadership!
I believe all individuals, groups and nations face two choices: to serve or to lord it over.
I fear many countries have moved to an abusive view of leadership and are voting for leaders who are “beastly” and not driven by strong moral ideals. They want followers, but not so they can serve them but to bring self-aggrandizement.
Sadly, beastly leaders end up trying to gain their lives and leadership, but lose both, whereas servants who throw themselves into the needs of others gain both life and leadership (Luke 17:33).
Beastly leaders fall for Satan’s great deception to be great, exalted, number ONE. And they become the most deceived of all even as they try to deceive others. It is a terrible mess and the reason why those of us who see this, need to pray that light will shine into their thinking and they will see better how to lead. This pity for deceived leaders need not be passive. In addition to praying we can be active in democracies speaking out against abuse. Beastly leaders buy into and believe a lie, a wrong view of effective leadership (2 Thes 2).
God will hold leaders accountable for their use of resources to serve or hurt others (Ps 82).
As servants and beasts come into contact, the natural difference breeds conflict, and inevitably war. Paul clarified the essence of that war: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12, KJV).
I believe Revelation 10-14 predicts that war will continue into our time and will force all leaders to a showdown.
I pray we all will be faithful to serve not Lord it over others.