To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Authority’ Category

Supporting Decision Makers

God has determined that His purposes are outworked through authority structures. He is the authority above all authorities. All works well when He is acknowledged to be such and submitted to as the One who always makes the right call on any matter because, after all, He is God. Questioning His decisions is always a futile and worthless endeavour.

But what of lesser authorities who are not blessed with infallibility? How should we respond to them? Decision making is a part of leadership and exercising authority. Parents, especially fathers, husbands, employers, governments and church elders are all examples of those God has ordained to take leadership roles.

If we are godly then our inbuilt disposition is to support those who are in positions of God-ordained authority. Whenever this is not so it is an indication of rebellion.

Those in authority positions are called upon to demonstrate their calling through making decisions. All of us have responsibility to support them in this, particularly when their decisions making is undertaken in a realm that affects us.

There will inevitably be times when these decision-makers make decisions which are neither godly, good or helpful. We may consider such to be the case and be right and justified in our conclusion. The problem comes when we make a big show of demonstrating that the decision-maker is wrong.

We should remember that decision-makers are to be supported in their decision-making. This does not mean that we applaud bad decisions, but it does mean that we are careful not to make a song-and-dance about the failures of those in authority in making decisions.

A deflated decision-maker is likely to shun making further decisions and that is bad for all. We need to encourage those in authority to make decisions. The adage that “a bad decision is better than no decision” has some credibility. We should encourage parents, employers and church leaders in making decisions.

Furthermore, we have to remember that in making their decisions they generally have access to far more information than we have. We may see flaws in a decision, which would soon be swept away if we knew the full facts.

So I say to wives, children, employees, church members be careful how you react to the decisions of those over you in the Lord. Your causing a hullabaloo about a decision may ultimately cause a lot of harm because you undermine the confidence of those in authority.

Finally though, if decision-makers are making decisions to exploit others and aggrandise themselves. then they need to be called out for their nefarious activity and called to account.

Happy To Be Wrong.

Some leaders are a menace because they always have to be right. Such people are generally quite insecure because if they are found to be wrong they feel themselves to be threatened. It is my persuasion though that leaders should be happy to be wrong. Leaders should be happy to lose arguments.

Now I am not talking here about matters of principle, particularly those established by scripture. We should not be prepared to be wrong about those issues. If we are prepared to accept being wrong on such issues, we are truly untrustworthy people. But we should be happy to be overruled on matters of procedure; if others have a better way of doing things we should be happy to accept that. Another instance would be when when we have simply misunderstood a situation we should not obfuscate the matter rather we tell openly of our wrongness.

This is refreshing for those under our care because if we defy the evidence and deny our wrongness then we just lead to them being exasperated. Which leads me to ponder upon the scripture Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4). Parents should be willing to own up on the occasions when they are proven to be wrong. If they don’t then they will exasperate their children.

We win so many over to our leadership if they realise we are honest people who do not just force our will upon others. Lets us not exasperate our people / children through our leadership, but rather delight them and encourage them through our willingness to accept when we are wrong. There is a sense in which leaders should lead in acknowledging their failure and wrongness.

Influence.

How are you influencing those under your influence? Let us ponder upon what is said of King Ahaziah in 2 Chronicles 22:3 He too followed the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother encouraged him to act wickedly. Ahaziah was influenced for bad by his mother.

Now there are many people who come under our influence to a greater or lesser extent. In family, church, work and so many areas there are a lot of situations happening which lead to influence being exerted. Generally it is the older, more experienced and people of higher ranks of authority which are doing the bulk of influencing. But there is a lot going on between peers and siblings and church members and in all kinds of relationships.

What I want to ask amidst all these situations is what kind of influence are you having? Are you prompting people to go in a good way or a bad way? Is our lifestyle, instruction and advice to encouraging people in the ways of God or the ways of the world?

What a sobering thing it is that in Scripture Ahaziah’s mother is seen as an influencer unto wickedness for her son.

I do want to exhort parents, church leaders and employers to think about the influence they are having. You are having an influence whether you like it or not.

So let us all just stop and think about the influence we are having upon others. Parents how are you influencing your children. Church leaders how are you influencing the church? And in all the other relationship structures you are involved, what is the influence you are having?

 

Reinforcing Authority.

Christian people are a people who have submitted to The Master. We are a people who have happily placed ourselves under the authority of God. Our whole faith is governed by the motif “Jesus Christ is LORD”. And as we journey into our faith we realise that all hangs together under God. Authority structures are crucial for the proper ordering of God’s creation and God’s church. Clear demonstration of this is given in Paul’s statement in Romans 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Christian people have it as part of their DNA to act and uphold the authority structures that God has put in place. Whether, it be the nation, the workplace, the home or the church the godly believer finds himself wanting to honour authority.

So when we go into a home we will be supporting and praying for the Father as He seeks to lead that home with his wife as his essential helper. So if they have to discipline one of their children we act to support them in this necessary out working of their responsibility.

Similarly in the workplace we are those who honour the bosses knowing that in doing so we are acting in a way that is honouring to God. Elders in our churches are similarly to be honoured and respected for the work God has called them to.

We are not to be numbered thereby among those who are insubordinate. 

Thoroughly Investigate.

In Deuteronomy 17:2-7 we read of how justice needs to be undertaken in respect of those who have forsaken the Lord in committing idolatry. One important part of this process is to make sure that a careful investigation is undertaken so we read these words of how the judges and officers respond to an accusation: if this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly (Deut. 17:4).

This is such an important principle for all who are in positions of authority to have in mind. Parents, bosses, church elders, school teachers, prosecuting authorities should all bear this in mind. It is so easy to reach swift judgements without a careful investigation. So if we are lacking in wisdom as parents, we will hear a shouting voice clammerimg for attention and immediately will respond to dish out our summary judgement so as to deal with the matter. But if there has been no proper investigation then the outcome can be worse than the beginning. The wrong punished innocent feel aggrieved and the wrongly excused villains think they can get away with it next time with similar tactics.

So we must make sure that we investigate properly. Stop and listen and find out and ponder. Then decide what to do. and then we must act. In Deuteronomy 17:4b-5 we read If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. This reminds us that the investigation must end and that a judgement has to be passed and appropriate punishment carried out. In this instance it was the stoning of the one guilty of idolatry. The important thing I want to concentrate on here is not the punishment but the fact that punishment was undertaken.

So if you are in authority make sure that you thoroughly investigate every accusation you have to deal with, reach a decision and then implement the relevant judgement.

More on this is at the sermon here

Steve Hansen Interview.

It was interesting to watch this interview with Steve Hansen after the All Blacks lost to The British and Irish Lions last Saturday. It seems to me that it should be compulsory viewing for all English Premier League (EPL) managers in the UK. What a difference to the usual griping, carping and complaining about the other team and the officials that you get in interviews from losing managers after EPL matches.

It is just beautiful to hear his straightforward acceptance of the decisions made by the referee and acceptance of the difficulties faced by the referee. And the captain Kieran Read comes out of it very impressively as well.

And I am left thinking about the impact of this sort of thing. It is so valuable because it reinforces the authority of the referees. He is the one in charge; he is the one who does his best to make decisions according to his best judgement. This attitude is picked up by youngsters, in particular, and a respect for referees is developed. And this is for the good of all playing the game.

In the EPL, with all the negative stuff against referees which is retailed by those who should know better, it leads to negative attitudes to referees which percolates throughout the game. So see here for a report on the perils of being a referee.

This leads me further to ponder upon the fact that Christianity is an authoritarian faith which flows from  a God who has established structures of authority for the wise government of his universe. We should always be supporters of those in authority. We should realise that when there is an undermining of those in authority then destructive forces are let lose.

So well-done Steve Hansen! Give Him a knighthood for services to decency!

Attitude to Scripture.

The Lord says it, therefore I believe it and so I do it. That, I suggest, should be the attitude of the true believer to Scripture. Alas for many believers the attitude seems to be the Lord says it, I will consider whether it is convenient for me and then I will decide whether to act upon it.

I am musing upon this theme in the light of the alarming observation that many who claim to be evangelical seem to have an equivocal attitude to Scripture. Their reasoning seems to be along the following lines. If the Scripture fits in with their conclusions then all well and good. If Scripture does not fit in with what they want then it is most unlikely that God speaking through His Word will “win the day”.

Such people may profess to be evangelical in that they believe that the Scriptures are the inspired oracles of God. But by their response and action they deny this.

What is going on here? Many I think are unwittingly saying that they know better than God. Here is how it goes. As an evangelical they have to accept the authority of Scripture. However, by their refusal to bow to Scripture and rather choose what they implicitly believe to be a better way they are saying that they know better than the Lord.

To which the challenge comes to me: am I consistent in my evangelical profession. Am I “The Lord says it, therefore I believe it and so I do it” person? I should be; otherwise i am a hypocrite.

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