The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

Archive for the tag “Honesty”

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Bible Character:  Obadiah (Prophet)

As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. Obadiah 1:15 NIV

Obadiah’s warning that he gave to Edom serves the same today as it did back then.  If you don’t treat others correctly and have a low ethical standard, it will catch up to you.   The basics attributes of being honest, fair, respectful, and bringing a positive attitude are often not observed, which seems to be leading to an ever increasing abuse of power.  Sure, times have been worse before, but God’s blessing has also left.

The people of Edom definitely did not respect Israel, which eventually cost them dearly.  The Edomites were really the people of Esau, and they were fighting the Israelites, who were really the people of Jacob, so in a roundabout way, Esau was still being exposed for what he had done.

Quality leaders don’t compromise.

Integrity = adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. (

Morals = concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical (

Individuals who maintain high integrity and moral standard shine like bright stars on a very dark night.  Their character gives them credibility, which is something people will follow. People will respect and trust them.

Opposite of a quality leader is the one who struggles with “fleshy” wrongdoings.  They never seem to take personal responsibility.  They can suffer from an overindulgence of selfishness, deceit, too much pride, greediness, and anger.  A leader can get away with this type of behavior for a short period of time, but generally they are exposed, just as the Edomite’s were.

Ref: Bible Hub, Obadiah Summary, by Jay Smith, Ultimate bible summary collection.


The Youth Vs. The Experienced

Bible Reference: Proverbs

The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. Proverbs 20:29

This verse is short…but it tells a lot.  It’s important to consider that there is value in both the young and the old.

You are leading someone that is younger or older than you…how do you find success?

Trust Each Other

The Baby Boomers are still a large portion of the workforce, and are slow to trust someone half their age…especially if that person is their boss!!  The same can be said for much of Generation X.   I can personally remember going the extra mile for Baby Boomers, trying to build their trust, only to have them become more skeptical of me because I was treating them extra nice.  Frustrating.

Why did this happen?  It’s really not about treating each other extra special as it is about having respect.  The verse above references gray hair; I assume that’s referring to experience.  When we’re young we often think we know it all.  Having a “know it all” approach is not constructive when trying to garner support from an older generation.

Respect is a two way street.  If it’s only the younger generation respecting the more experienced…there will definitely be a breakdown.  We need the strength of the youth too, and that energy is something to be appreciated.


The older generation believes in total honesty, and often will not trust individuals who don’t subscribe to this policy. Sometimes we don’t comprehend how important this is…even on the small issues.  Baby Boomers want to hear the truth, even when the truth hurts.

The youth and experienced don’t have to just co-exist; they need to come together as one.

Firm but Flexible

Bible Character:  Jesus

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin.  But you have neglected the more important matters of the law – Justice, mercy and faithfulness.  You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.  Matthew 23:23

Jesus’ leadership is so hard to emulate because he struck a balance between firm and flexible.  Somehow he could practice authority and be a servant at the same time!


Truth telling can be tempting to avoid.  It would have been easier for Jesus to avoid reprimanding the teachers and Pharisees in the verse above, but he knew he needed to be honest, even authoritative.  Jesus’ purpose was to move the Pharisees and teachers away from concentrating on a bunch of rules, but that does not mean he did not appreciate measuring one’s conduct.

High Standards

Love comes in many forms, and one of those is maintaining high standards.  A misconception is that being flexible means lowering standards.  Having a strong resolution to uphold the organization’s principles, and consistent implementation of the standards is priority.


Having the ability to adjust is a key to flexible leadership.  It starts with being a continual learner, which allows you to be able to change quickly.

Servant Leadership

In Matthew 20:28 Jesus says, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  NIV

Servant leadership focuses on maintaining a person’s human dignity and empowering that individual, giving them the ability to make choices on their own.  Even though servant leadership was Jesus’ main form of influence, he often used other styles when needed, allowing him to be firm but flexible.

Surrounded by the Wrong People?

Bible Character: King Darius

Darius the Mede threw Daniel into the lion’s den!  How could he make such a huge mistake?  How could execute someone like Daniel, whom he had planned to set as administrator over the whole kingdom?

Darius, like many leaders, surrounded himself with many people of influence.  Just like now, during Bible times some of these individuals did not have pure motives.  Other government administrators were jealous of Daniel and tricked King Darius into writing a decree, barring worship of any other God or man, except the king.

How can we avoid following bad advice?

Know the People You Trust

Good leaders try to find individuals who are not “yes” people.  It’s tempting to surround yourself with individuals that are just like you, or people who tell you what you want to hear, but in the end it is destructive.  A leader needs people who will be honest with them.

There were probably other government administrators who knew the decree was wrong, but did not have the courage or honesty to speak up.

Don’t Be a Narcissist

King Darius’s decree was not beneficial to anyone but himself. If something is not beneficial for the greater good, the question needs to be asked:  “Should we even be doing this?”

The King must have got sidetracked by the request of individuals who did not have his, or the kingdom’s, best interest at heart.

While Daniel was in the lion’s den, King Darius spent the night fasting.  The next morning he quickly went to find out if God had rescued Daniel.  As many of you know, God had sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and Daniel was not hurt.  Following Daniel’s release, the individuals responsible for  convincing Darius to write the decree were thrown into the lions den.

Raising the Standards

Bible Character:  Paul

The Apostle Paul had high standards for himself and others.  Everything Paul did he seemed to do with zeal.  Early on in his life he showed signs of zealot tendencies and often persecuted Christians.  Then he met Christ on the road to Damascus, and changed his mission to improving Christians.

How did Paul go about raising the standards?

Lead by Example

We have all heard the phrase “Practice what you preach”.  Paul definitely subscribed to this philosophy.  He was very hard on himself and was his own biggest critic.   We can’t raise our organization’s standards if we don’t start with ourselves.  Looking internally at ourselves is the starting point for improving others around us.

He was Honest with his people

I must admit, when I read Paul’s writings in the bible (which is almost half of the New Testament) it can make me almost uncomfortable at times.  His expectations are high and he lets you know about it.  He does not generally “beat around the bush”, and can be very straight forward and honest.  The key is he does this with a heart that is motivated by a true and deep compassion for the people he is writing to.

He always felt people could do better

In Paul’s writings he was always challenging the churches to do better.  He acknowledged their improvements, but also pushed them to do better.  Do the people you lead feel like they can never be “good” enough for you?  If that’s the case, you may need to change your approach, but we also don’t want to settle for “just good enough” either.

It is easy for all of us to get “comfortable” with our current situation.  We need to follow Paul’s example and push ourselves, and others, to continually improve and “Raise the Standards”.

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