Integrity is the quality people most want to see in a leader – someone who walks the talk. The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy. When we make poor choices at integrity forks in the road, the word hypocrite becomes a clanging bell in our mind and soul. Hypocrisy is one of six perceptions of the church today by the secular world (Barna Research: UnChristian) because we have often failed to walk our talk. In Matthew, Jesus scolded the Pharisees for saying one thing and doing another. They were the leaders of the Jewish people, and yet eight times in this one chapter, Jesus says, Woe to you, hypocrites…and then points out to them their two-faced behavior as leaders. The Pharisees weren’t living up to the level of integrity that Jesus expected of them as leaders. We call them ‘character gaps’ in our leadership – when we behave in ways that do not make Jesus proud. It’s clear that a hypocrite is unqualified to lead others – to a higher character or to success.
Before we point a finger at the Pharisees, we must look in the mirror as leaders. When we claim to be a follower of Jesus, we make a statement that we will have integrity by leading like Jesus. We will balance grace and truth by holding others accountable, we will serve rather than be served, and we will have “ an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15). We will exhibit His Heart, His Hands, His Head, and His Habits. And we will constantly look for hypocrisy in our words and actions, ask for forgiveness, and look to Jesus as our leadership role model.
In what areas of your life are you saying one thing and doing another?
Featured Resource: Lead Like Jesus Revisited