There is an old saying about counterfeit money that is priceless (excuse the pun).
The saying goes, that you have to handle a lot of authentic money in order to be able to identify a counterfeit bill. The reason for this is, the more you know what a real $100 bill feels like, the easier it is to know when a fake one is in your hand.
This also translates to spiritual authenticity as well. The more you see true Godly authenticity in a leader, the easier it is to spot a fake one. AUTHENTICITY is a trait that marks a true spiritual leader and the ability to maintain authenticity is a danger for a false leader. Consider the following.
When I was saved, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. The trust for my salvation was transferred to Him instead of my good works. At the point of my conversion, I had to admit to God and to others, that I had been involved in a lot of stupid things that was sending me straight to hell. In admitting this to God and others, I was being authentic about who I was, and the telling of the story became my “testimony”.
This did not mean however, that I stopped sinning. No, I messed up a lot, and continue to do so. A true spiritual leader will admit to still falling short in word and deed, and is quick to confess and repent and move on in grace. But NOT a counterfeit leader.
To a cult leader, daily authenticity is dangerous, because it signals that they are JUST LIKE YOU. They refer to their PAST sinfulness, but are very careful not to admit to having a bent toward a particular sin that continues to harass them. The false leader counts on being seen as having moved on to a “higher plane” or “walk” with Christ, and to confess an ongoing struggle with sin removes the perception that they are “holy men and women of God”. In fact, I will state further that their insistence that they have “overcome” a particular area of sin, should be a ‘red flag” that self righteous hypocrisy is present in their lives.
Of course we should seek to refuse to submit ourselves to areas of sin that once overcame us in life…but the counterfeit leader will seek to present themselves as one who has no need to be transparent, because their “faith” has made them “overcomers” and now, they can move up to a higher place of leadership as a result.
The greatest leaders I have ever known have publicly confessed areas of sin in their lives that they continue to struggle in. This is because they do not wish to draw glory to themselves…they want Jesus to receive the glory. In fact the fellowship that I have enjoyed with these leaders is because we share a common fallenness…from which we will not be completely freed from until Jesus returns and exchanges our mortal for immortality.
This is one of the greatest signs of cultish activity that exists today. A “leadership” that requires a level of holiness that even they cannot attain. It is a misunderstanding that stems from an arrogant belief that they have arrived, but they insist that YOU must have something wrong with you….maybe even have demons…if you still struggle in areas of your life after your initial salvation. And instead of lovingly coming alongside of you to assist you confidentially and in love, the spiritually counterfeit leader, will actually use self righteous comparisons to other people in order to shame you into submission. They say, “well, the reason you have problems with that is, you just haven’t committed yourself completely to Jesus”. No…the reason you have ongoing problems is, that our sins of the flesh, are something with which we will grapple until the day that Jesus returns. We were told by Jesus Himself, that we would have tribulations in this life…but to REJOICE, because He had overcome the world.
Ongoing authenticity in a cult leaders life would mean that you would see them as vulnerable and fallen as YOU are…and THAT is simply not something they can allow to happen. Why….what would you do if they weren’t spiritually superior than you? I guess it would mean you would have to trust only in Jesus to be forgiven and to trust in His grace. It would mean that THEY are as much in need of “deliverance” as you are. It would mean that they too would need to publicly confess their sins. Do you really think Wildcat Cult Church for Christ leaders don’t have problems with pornography? Or drunkenness? Or other sins you need to confess? For any of them to deny these things happen in their lives is an outright lie. But they won’t tell you, because, they are NOT AUTHENTIC in humility and transparency. It would topple the house of cards.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1.Do you think your leaders always spend their money the “right” way?
2.Have your “covenant group” leaders ever confessed to you their sins?
3.Do your leaders feel they are spiritually better than you or impervious to the same sins you contend with?
4.Have you ever seen them grieve over their own shortcomings Publicly?
5.Do your “leaders” allow YOU to rebuke THEM? If not….why not?
If the answers to any of these questions is “No” then I would say there is spiritual pride and arrogance where humility and authenticity should be.
Remember, only Jesus is perfect, and his pastors are to have his gentle heart. Jeremiah 23:4 says,
“I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD.
If your leaders are not transparent about their imperfect lives, then you are following a wolf and not a true shepherd.
We are here to love you and to assist you to come out from under the harsh treatment of prideful taskmaster who seek to benefit by manipulation and guilt. Contact anyone on this site for help. You are loved.