Spare me shame and humiliation, for I observe your rules. Though rulers plot and slander me, your servant meditates on your statutes. Yes, I find delight in your rules; they give me guidance. (Psalm 119:22–24 NET)
Lessons from Jesus, Son of God and God the Son!
First, do not worry about the trial beforehand as the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say when you need to say it.
But when they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how you should make your defense or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you must say." (Luke 12:11-12 NET)
When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:11 NET)
While this was happening, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus replied, "I have spoken publicly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple courts, where all the Jewish people assemble together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said. They know what I said." When Jesus had said this, one of the high priest's officers who stood nearby struck him on the face and said, "Is that the way you answer the high priest?" Jesus replied, "If I have said something wrong, confirm what is wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why strike me?" Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:19-24 NET)
Second, keep your mouth shut unless the Holy Spirit gives you something to say.
Early in the morning, after forming a plan, the chief priests with the elders and the experts in the law and the whole Sanhedrin tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. So Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He replied, "You say so." Then the chief priests began to accuse him repeatedly. So Pilate asked him again, "Have you nothing to say? See how many charges they are bringing against you!" But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. (Mark 15:1-5 NET)
"So Pilate went back into the governor's residence, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or have others told you about me?" Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own people and your chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus replied, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." Then Pilate said, "So you are a king!" Jesus replied, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world– to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate asked, "What is truth?" When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, "I find no basis for an accusation against him." (John 18:33-38 NET)
I charge you before God who gives life to all things and Christ Jesus who made his good confession before Pontius Pilate, (1 Timothy 6:13 NET)
The good confession by Jesus before Pontius Pilate was only saying what the Father told Him to say which meant Jesus was quiet for the majority of the interrogation (John 12:49). We should study to be quiet as well (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)
Third, realize the corrupt leadership that desires to “crucify” you could not do so without God’s permission (1).
The Jewish leaders replied, "We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!" When Pilate heard what they said, he was more afraid than ever, and he went back into the governor's residence and said to Jesus, "Where do you come from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Don't you know I have the authority to release you, and to crucify you?" Jesus replied, "You would have no authority over me at all, unless it was given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of greater sin." (John 19:7-11 NET)
Lessons from David, the man chasing after God’s heart! (Acts 13:22)
First, place your trust in God, believing that He is utterly in control no matter what the circumstances. David was so confident that God was in control of this situation that he could trust God with his reputation and future. When he had the opportunity to kill King Saul, he did not take it. He knew God was in control and had a different plan.
David's men said to him, "This is the day about which the LORD said to you, 'I will give your enemy into your hand, and you can do to him whatever seems appropriate to you.'" So David got up and quietly cut off an edge of Saul's robe. Afterward David's conscience bothered him because he had cut off an edge of Saul's robe. He said to his men, "May the LORD keep me far away from doing such a thing to my lord, who is the LORD's chosen one, by extending my hand against him. After all, he is the LORD's chosen one." David restrained his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. Then Saul left the cave and started down the road. (1 Samuel 24:4-7 NET)
Second, do not believe that you cannot accomplish important ministry under bad leadership. David was living proof that you can accomplish much under a jealous, insecure, and evil spirit (i.e., a demon 1 Samuel 16:14) driven leader.
Third, find your niche, excel, and stay connected to the team as a whole. Do not give in to the temptation to withdraw and do your own thing. Do your very best and give your ministry your all, but do not buy into the trap that says, “Just stay in your little area, do your thing, and let others deal with the mess.” That only promotes the problem. Those near you will sense your withdrawal, and though you may never say a word, they will detect your distance and lack of team interaction. Do your thing, and do it well, but stay connected to the big picture and the team as a whole.
Fourth, be prepared that success may bring you difficulty. As David returned to town after killing Goliath he was honored and praised. He had come from a peasant background in Bethlehem, as a shepherd boy, and the youngest of seven brothers to become the hero of the day.
The women who were playing the music sang, "Saul has struck down his thousands, but David his tens of thousands!" This made Saul very angry. The statement displeased him and he thought, "They have attributed to David tens of thousands, but to me they have attributed only thousands. What does he lack, except the kingdom?" So Saul was keeping an eye on David from that day onward. (1 Samuel 18:7-9 NET)
David’s situation worsens due to his popularity.
So Saul feared David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. Saul removed David from his presence and made him a commanding officer. David led the army out to battle and back. Now David achieved success in all he did, for the LORD was with him. (1 Samuel 18:12-14 NET)
King Saul was jealous of David. He likely gave this military assignment to David because he was hopeful that David would be killed in battle. But David acted as an honorable and successful soldier, even in the midst of trying circumstances. It does not always work well, and fairness went out the window long ago. But like David, do the right thing regardless.
Biblical guidance for confronting wicked leaders
First, go to them showing unconditional submission and conditional obedience (i.e., obedience up to but not beyond the point of sin).
"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault when the two of you are alone. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others with you, so that at the testimony of two or three witnesses every matter may be established. (Matthew 18:15-16 NET)
Understand that it is not your job to fix your leader. If he or she needs to change, that is between them and God. The Lord may use you to influence your boss, and you may be a valuable instrument of change in your leader’s life. However, that is extremely different than spearheading an effort to force them to change because you think that someone must do something. I promise you, taking on your leader will not result in the good for the church. If the Lord directs you to say something to your leader, (staff or member), then say it in private. If he or she chooses not to accept what you have to say, drop it. Obviously, if it is a Biblical issue such as immorality or heresy, that is a different scenario. But even then, it is not likely to be your job to take matters into your hands.
Second, for acts of immorality or heresy in the church then take it before the church.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:17 NET)
Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it can be confirmed by two or three witnesses. Those guilty of sin must be rebuked before all, as a warning to the rest. (1 Timothy 5:19-20 NET)
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he had clearly done wrong. Until certain people came from James, he had been eating with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he stopped doing this and separated himself because he was afraid of those who were pro-circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, "If you, although you are a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you try to force the Gentiles to live like Jews?" (Galatians. 2:11-14 NET)
Third, if it is time to leave, then leave, but do it in a way that honors your leader. If it is not an issue of immorality or heresy and after you have spoken the truth in love privately (following the example set in Matthew 18 by having taken another with you) and you still get nowhere with the unacceptable issue at hand, then you leave. Do not stay and split the church. Do not make a big fuss on the way out. Do not say things you will regret. Do not do anything that will hurt the church in the long run. When you are wronged, take the high road. Taking the high road is the example that Jesus set for us.
If you follow the Biblical guidance, then God will cause the evil intentions of corrupt leaders against you to turn into a good work.
As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people, as you can see this day. (Genesis 50:20 NET)
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:28-29 NET)
God will bless you if you honor Him and His Word (1 Samuel 2:30). Again, God blessed David for obeying Saul.
On every mission on which Saul sent him, David achieved success. So Saul appointed him over the men of war. This pleased not only all the army, but also Saul's servants. (1 Samuel 18:5 NET)
David’s obedience got him a promotion, gave him favor with the people, and won the respect of those he led. God does not promise this kind of blessing to all, but He will not overlook your obedience, particularly to Himself. God’s economy is different than that of the world. The world gets even; we turn the other cheek. The world is out for glory, while we serve without recognition. I am not suggesting that you or any other leader become a doormat. That is contrary to the essence of leadership. I only want to encourage you to take the high road even when life presents you with difficult challenges. Remember, God, blessed Jesus for His suffering, too! (Hebrews 2:9,10)
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.