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You Failed As a Leader, What’s Next?

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One of the biggest misunderstandings about being a leader is that you have to be perfect. Well, if that’s the case then I believe no man is qualified for leadership because everyone’s going to make a mistake at some point.

There’s a story in 1 Chronicles Chapter 21 of a time when David failed so miserably that the whole nation of Israel had to pay for his sins. In rebellion towards God and towards the wise counsel given by God through Joab, David took a census of his fighting men showing his reliance on himself.

As a result, God had brought a plague down causing 70,000 people to die. Talk about a bad day. However, as bad as things got because David failed as a leader, his response is something we can all learn from and mimic once we make blunders of our own. How did David respond to the error of his ways?

1. Repentance

In 1 Chronicles 21:8, David said, “…I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” With repentance in his heart, David turned back to God and turned away from his selfish acts of sin. In times we realize that we’ve failed as leaders, the first step is to hit the reset button that is repentance and turn away from the sin for good.

2. Surrender

After the Lord brought a huge plague to Israel, He turned back to David and gave him instructions through a man named Gad to build an altar before the Lord. Verse 18 tells us that “David went up at Gad’s word, which he had spoken in the name of the Lord,” in other words, David obeyed. The moment of defeat is the time we must surrender, and I don’t mean give up, but I mean that we surrender our hurts and failure to God and trust in His power to mend the broken pieces.

3. Devotion

When David set out to build an altar, he came to the threshing floor that belonged to a man named Ornan. The owner of the lot readily offered the piece of land to the king for free, but David refused to freeload his way into a sacrifice for the Lord. He said “I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” What devotion!

Failing is part of the process of learning and growing, and leaders need both. Every now and then, a concoction might blow up in your face and the beauty behind scenarios as such is that it guides us into doing things better the next time around.