Leadership is life-giving. In contrast, control will suck the life out of us. I have yet to meet a person that likes to be controlled. I know I don’t. It is stifling. Something in us really presses against being controlled. This is a good thing. So why is it so tempting to want to control situations and people?
I think part of the temptation comes in because we think we know what is best for a given situation or for another person. If anyone actually did know what was best, it was Jesus, yet time and time again we see Him letting people chose. Two stories stand out. Jesus encounters the man who sits by the well day after day waiting for someone to stir the pool so that he can touch it and be healed. (John 5) Jesus’ question to him, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus doesn’t try to control this man or make him do something; he simply points out that there is a way that leads to life, and then lets this man choose. The second story is the infamous rich young ruler. Jesus offers him life but allows him to choose. “At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (Mark 10:22)