the gift of opposition

In a recent article, John Ortberg writes about opposition and the place it plays in the ongoing development of a leader. Like all who are in positions of responsibility, he has had his share of dealing with people who resist and oppose. Rather than treating this as a pain, he has chosen to make opposition something positive. About opposition, he says, “When it comes, I learn something about my motives. When it comes, I get to test my courage. When it comes, the truth about my humility (or lack thereof) is revealed. When it comes, blind spots get exposed that would otherwise do damage. When it comes, I am given the opportunity to grow strong. When it comes, I discover that I am the opposition in more lives than I ever would have guessed.”

I think of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:8 “But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.” (NIV) It appears to me that the opposition he was experiencing may have been one of the indicators that a door was opened. Maybe a connection between opposition and effective work , possibly we can’t have one without the other.

For me, it comes down to motives. When someone opposes my leadership, my first reaction is to be defensive. But if I know the individual is a person of integrity and they have the best interest of the organization in their heart, I can be much more open to their position. If their motive is to help, I can tolerate it. It helps if the person also exercises a little tact. If someone is mean spirited, rude and trying to cause difficulty in the church, my response is not positive.

Guess we all need to work on dealing with opposition. Special thanks to Pastor Ortberg for his helpful article.

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One response to “the gift of opposition

  • Lisa L.

    Hey Rick,I am away on business and clicked on the website to listen to a message and found you have a new blog spot–very exciting! I have read most of your postings and have appreciated each of them. This one on opposition is really hitting home for me today. I like the title “the gift of opposition”. It truly can be a gift. I wholeheartedly agree with what Ortberg has to say. I know that in the pursuit of doing anything great there will be resistance, but sometimes you forget about that until a situation occurs that tests your leadership, motives, humility, courage, etc. I wont go into detail, but about a month ago, my leadership was challenged by someone in a mean spirited unprofessional way. The Lord used this situation to remind me of what your blog talks about today. The Lord also used this situation to remind me how totally dependent on Him I am. I am still dealing with the “aftermath” of this situation and through it all, the Lord has been faithful and I have true peace about the situation. I dont like the situation and it is uncomfortable and irritating at times, but I know I will be a better leader because of it!Take care,Lisa L.

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