I have two principles that guide my decisions as father, a husband and a pastor. I learned these two principles from my parents and from many of the mentors I have in my life.
Principle One: Do the right thing, for the right reason, even at my own hurt.
Principle Two: Say what you mean and mean what you say.
These two principles were put to the test this past week as I navigated the media frenzy surrounding the new allegations involving our church. I have told several close friends this week that it is really hurtful to be criticized so strongly for simply doing the right thing. I actually believe it is easier to accept criticism after doing something wrong. If that was the case, I would stand before my family, my church and the media and simply accept the responsibility and the consequences. But when no wrong act has been committed, it hurts to be misunderstood or questioned.
Integrity is something I cherish and protect. It is easily lost and difficult to regain. When my integrity is questioned, I try not to be defensive but I also want truth. In the end, I know God sees my heart and ultimately He is my judge. I trust my reputation into His hands and believe that He will ultimately defend me.
I find it is easier for people to trust again if my words are honest and direct. I try to not speak in codes or double speak. Straightforward communication with sincerity and honesty will normally cut through the fog of misinformation and allow people to make the right judgments.
These two principles are big leadership ideas that I hope are adopted by everyone in a position of influence or authority. It is a sacred responsibility to lead people and I consider it an honor to be called pastor.