By Chris Brady | Original Post
From time to time my children will ask me the question,
“Dad, if you could have any super power, what would it be?”
To which I always answer, “Teleporting!” Because it would be so amazing to just whisk myself to any spot on the globe and be there in minutes, bypassing airport security, delays, turbulence, and the immense time required to physically cart my carcass to a different geographic locale. Of course, the questions posed by such an imagined technology are interesting. For instance, if it were possible to teleport, would your clothes be able to go with you or would you go naked? Probably naked, I think, science being science. Therefore, imaging landing in your chosen spot in your birthday suit! Think of the cottage industries that would grow up around that. “Clothing shops for your landing spots!” and “Undies available immediately everywhere you land!” Amazon would have to fast-forward their drone delivery program for sure! Also, I wonder if you would be able to choose an exact set of coordinates for your landing spot? Or would it be like our commercial GPS units, with a plus or minus fifteen feet accuracy? Oh, what difficulties that would engender! You materialize out of nowhere on top of someone’s dining table (naked, remember), or in the middle of traffic.
My children have other super powers they espouse. One always seems to say “being invisible.” Another says “time travel,” or “to be able to fly.” Which always gets me thinking. Just how many super powers could there be, if one really let imagine run wild? The list can get pretty exciting:
- Time Travel (the same “naked” question arises)
- Speed Reading
- Photographic memory
- Fluent in all languages
- Being Invisible
- Immune to all Sickness
- Never needing to sleep
- Be a glutton but stay perfectly fit (like a teenager!)
- See the future
- Being in two places at once
- Mind reading
- And then there’s the whole panoply of the powers of the Avengers and Super Friends, etc.
These are fun to think about, and to add to. (Which are your favorite, and which would you most like to have, and why? Also, are there others that should be on my list?) But, it’s interesting when we realize that we already have an immense arsenal of super powers at our disposal. Our eyes are able to process hundreds of millions of inputs in mere seconds and distill it all down to usability in the brain. Our cells all are replaced annually but yet we remain the same person. And who can explain the sense of taste or smell? And what about the fact that we can just lie down for a night and wake up good as new and fully restored in the morning? The list of the physical marvels of our human physiology is almost endless, and most of it we take entirely for granted.
But the super power I would like to bring our attention to is quite different from the imagined ones above or the physical ones mentioned. For it is truly a super power when a human being acts contrary to his or her own selfish desires and tendencies. When slights, hurt feelings, wrongs, and betrayals do not result in retaliation and revenge.
Jesus taught us to love our neighbors and deny ourselves, even though we are predisposed to do just the opposite. And when we see someone actually behaving this way, being strongly meek in the face of a personal affront, forgiving transgressions and refusing to take offense, it is so amazing that it might rank right up there with the super powers mentioned above. Christians strive to do so in order to be obedient to Christ’s commands, and to shine light to glorify their savior. How others do it (and they occasionally do), is beyond me. But pragmatically speaking, it is a precept of effective leadership to be slow to anger and quick to forgive, to be longsuffering and hard to offend. As anyone who has ever spent much time in a position of leadership would attest, leaders carry an unfair load. They are attacked, maligned, criticized, and condemned by “lesser” people who are not at their level of performance, who don’t carry their weight of responsibility, and who aren’t privy to their purview of the information. In other words, leaders will be treated in ways that probably justify retaliation and retribution. And the world cheers when “tough leaders” strike back in righteous indignation. But the cheers are really not admiration, but chirps of relief that the person on a pedestal is just as base as them, subject to the same flaws and pride. Those cheers are the sound of misery loving company.
But when a leader rises above these temptations, and demonstrates true restraint even at great cost to him or her self, it is deeply respected by those who notice, even if it doesn’t make headlines. Remember, villains actually respect the one wearing the white hat, for they know they were incapable of staying clean themselves, and they marvel that someone else could do so.
If you want to be a good leader, you’ve got to rise above your selfish demand for your rights to be respected, and instead die to self for a bigger cause and for the people for whom you are responsible.
It is not easy. But it is powerful. In fact, it’s a super power.