Leaders Declare Peace

  Photo courtesy of HQFreeImages.com

Photo courtesy of HQFreeImages.com

One of my favorite leadership stories comes from biblical narrative when the resurrected Jesus appears to some of his disciples and says, "Peace be with you." While the narrative has many religious implications for believers, I think the leadership implications are also far-reaching. Regardless of whether you consider biblical narrative inspired, just think about the story for a moment.

The individuals gathered together were primary followers of Jesus. Followers that, in fact, Jesus had been trying to turn into leaders. They were, at times, growing into those roles, and at other times, they just couldn't get a grasp on what it truly meant to lead as Jesus recommended. They were passionate in some moments, and equally obtuse in others. And as Jesus' betrayal, trials, and crucifixion began to unfold, many not only failed in their leadership capacity, they weren't even good followers anymore. In fact, most ran, and hid, and waited, likely hoping not to be the next person identified as a Jesus follower for fear of suffering his fate.

It's in this backdrop that they are huddled in a room on the day that Jesus had declared he would rise from the dead. Note that they aren't at the tomb (though some had visited earlier in the day and found it empty), nor are they out in the streets looking for Jesus (despite the reports that some had seen him). No, they are huddled in a room, trying to figure it all out. And that's when Jesus performs an act of leadership - he declares peace.

In my opinion, that's a bold move for the moment. After all, Jesus knows that many of those present had scattered just a few hours before. Some had even cursed and denied they even knew him. He had spent three years preparing them for the moment - a moment to lead - and they hadn't just failed, they had failed miserably. And he knew it. And they knew it. I believe they were likely in awe of what they were seeing, but I suspect they were equally afraid, guilty, and ashamed. It's in that context that Jesus says, "Peace be with you" or my modern day translation, "Guys, it's okay. It's okay that you didn't get it. It's okay that you abandoned me. It's okay that you failed. It's okay, because you're going to get more chances to lead in the future."

I share this story because I believe one of the most powerful things a leader can do is declare peace for his/her followers. Those we are trying to grow into leaders will not develop overnight (maybe not even in three years). They will not "get" everything we are trying to show them, tell them, etc. They may even say bad things about us in the rough times. But if we ever want them to lead, we have to say, "Peace be with you" and give them another opportunity.

Who do you need to share peace with today?