As I look at heroes in my community, I find several shared threads. A key one that crosses communities, cultures, and ages, is how heroes lead. Leadership does not mean that one must be the top of the hierarchy. Leadership is not linked to external empowerment. Leadership is something quite different. Leadership often follows from truth; a life lived as a model, and examples of courage. When someone takes a courageous step, especially with quiet, diplomatic, and firm resolve, others can feel the power and positive force in their life. It is a compelling proposition that cannot be told; it is always shown through actions, choices, and decisions.
Courageous steps take many forms. I look around and see individuals that are standing up for the rights of others, especially those in their communities that generally have no voice. A simple letter to the community board, initiating a review, pushing for change when it does not personally benefit, is a good example. It may not seem much, but it is priceless to the powerless.
Another example is found when we stand alongside someone others are unsure of. When Barnabas “introduced him [Saul] to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus' name.” (Acts 9.27) His testimony made the different. Saul had a chance. Saul now had an opportunity. Because of their faith in Barnabas, the community found themselves free to exercise a bit of faith in Saul.
When individuals take a view without imposing or mandating their view on or for others, I find myself listening intently. Today's world is filled with complexities and chaos. Understanding any situation takes wisdom and courage. Letting others have a voice in our lives does not diminish our freedom, it reality it makes freedom stronger.
Leaders allow Truth to stand on its own feet. Leaders respect and nurture the community. Leaders love and embrace the strengths of others.
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