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.