The Silent Leader

For years I have been working to be the best “Silent Leader,” possible.

A ‘silent leader’ is someone who acts in such a way, others might follow their example. This can be anyone from a CEO if a Fortune 500 Company to the person cleaning the restrooms and everyone in between.

Much of it is derived from the Book of Matthew in the New Testament. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-15.

So how does this tie into being a ‘silent leader?’ First off know that in my view the ‘silent leader’ is based on ‘interpersonal relationships,’ which is defined as an association between two or more people who may range from fleeting to enduring.

These kinds of relationships are not often thought of as a biblical topic, but advice about dealing with other people makes up a large part of the teachings of Jesus and the wisdom books of the Old Testament.  We spend our entire life interfacing with fellow humans.

Without interaction with others, our lives would have virtually no meaning or purpose. Yet, it is our relating that creates most of our difficulties.

Imagine your life without another person in it. No arguments, no fights, no obligations, no misunderstandings, but also no love, no joy, no laughs and no life.

Obviously, the answer to difficult relationships is not to withdraw from or avoid interaction with others.  Rather it’s to learn how to relate in a meaningful, honoring and constructive way to a person.

All of the New Testament teachings on relationships spring from Jesus’ commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

The English word “love” has many different meanings, but this “Christian love” of the Bible comes from the Greek word agape which means good-will and benevolent concern for the one loved. It is deliberate, purposeful love rather than an emotional or impulsive love.

“Love your neighbor” was not a new commandment, but the people of Jesus’ time had developed a rather narrow view of who should be considered a “neighbor.” In His parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus corrected that view and teaches us that a “neighbor” is anyone we come in contact with.

If you explore the Jesus story you begin to notice how He respected others, whether they were male or female, young or old. Jesus made it His priority to teach how to relate in every type of relationship.

In many ways, all of Jesus’ teaching addresses our responses in relationships. For example, Jesus also said in Matthew: “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Is the practice of being a ‘silent leader’ hard? You bet – but nothing good ever comes easy.

Finally, in the course of life we all come across difficult situations in which we are unsure how to relate. It’s how we respond that makes us either a ‘lamp on its stand’ — or one placed ‘under a bowl.’

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