I think the further you go in leadership, the more restraint you must exercise. There is all the more opportunity to spout off and retaliate when someone talks down to you or slanders you or patronizes you. There are days when I want to "go off" on someone dishing out a well deserved reprimand putting them in their place. Thoughts gather like storm clouds forming perfect come-backs that result in getting the "last word".
But for all the communicating one employs in leadership, the communication that leads to the greatest influence is wisely barred up behind your teeth, staved off by a mix of God's Spirit and the will to die to yourself. And make no mistake, it takes all the will-power you can muster to talk yourself out of talking, especially when it would set the record straight. These are the zingers that almost hurt to hold in.
I feel like I've been on the brink of sending several emails this week that would have felt so good to release to the wild. At times I even began tapping out a rebuttal to a disrespectful tone or a sarcastic choice of words or a false accusation only to backspace my way to a blank email exiting out of the window and moving on to more constructive exploits. I won't lie, it doesn't feel as good. There isn't an immediate payoff. In fact, it's downright gut-wrenching to let someone off the hook. It makes me mad just thinking about it.
But this is why James 3 says, "not many of you should presume to be teachers, because you will incur a stricter judgement". You can't just "go off" anymore or "tell it like it is". Nope, those days are in the rearview mirror along with other childish antics. The filter must tighten its screen, each word weighed, each motive measured.
I wonder if God's greatest rewards are reserved for the leaders who nearly bit their tongues off in an effort to take the higher and narrower road.