People love to watch great and mighty buildings fall. We find it fascinating that a structure that took years to build can come down in a few seconds. Some arrive hours early for a scheduled implosion to get a good view of the devastating seconds when the building topples inward. Those who love to watch implosions cheer whey they occur, and then they get in their cars and drive away until the next scheduled implosion is announced. But people are not buildings, and we should not treat their implosions the same way. As I wrote here, we should respond with prayer, grief, humility, fear, resolve, and hope.
We must not respond with pride. We must not look at the fall of a leader with haughty eyes, for by doing so we welcome our own demise. Here are three warning signs you are responding with pride to a leader’s fall:
1. You actually like it.
Now, I cannot tell if people actually like the news of a leader falling. I cannot discern someone else’s motives or heart. It is hard enough to discern my own at times. But it seems, it really seems, that some like it when a ministry leader falls. If some like the news of a leader falling, perhaps it is because their position is now open. Or maybe it makes them feel stronger. Or maybe they love to say, “Told you so,” about someone they had expressed concern over in the past. If you secretly like the news of a leader falling, you are filled with a dangerous amount of hubris.
2. You insist this will never happen to you.
If you look at a leader’s fall and think it won’t happen to you, you should be very careful. Those are not my words. Those are from the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote to believers living in Corinth with this caution: “Whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall.” If you think it will not happen to you, it is a clear indication that you believe there is something in you, something about you, that keeps you strong. But we are not the ones who can keep ourselves from falling. Only God is able to keep us from falling.
3. You point to the leader’s theological tribe.
If you rush to point to a leader’s theological tribe as the culprit for the fall, you are simultaneously saying you are better and your tribe is immune, which is not true. Not at all. Implosions transcend theological tribe. Ministry leaders from all types of backgrounds have failed in their personal holiness. To use someone else’s fall to validate your position is pride; it’s also unloving and unhelpful.
Responding with humility is important because of what the Scripture teaches us: “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).