Sometimes it’s hard to recognize them by their fruits. Their church leadership position can make them appear holy and right and mask their bad fruits. When you shop for fruits at the grocery store, you need to look past the layers of coloring and wax that cover the bad fruit on the shelf in order to truly see the condition of that fruit. Their goal is to sell you bad fruit by making it seem good and covering up its defects. The same is true with bad leadership in a church and the same careful checking is needed.
Don’t worry about leaving bad leaders. Jesus’ greatest warning to his disciples was to guard themselves against false teachers and to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees – something they didn’t really understand. In the same way today, we don’t really understand the severity of Jesus’ warnings against false or crooked leaders. We’ll talk to ourselves and say things like: Leave my leader? He’s a church leader. He’s been one for years. He can’t be that bad if he’s a church leader. Sure he has flaws and I see signs of crooked/abusive/corrupt dealings, but maybe I’m being too critical and unloving. Maybe I need to be more forgiving and loving toward him and he will change. He told me he’s my spiritual father. He told me it’s against God’s will for me to go anywhere else. He told me I’d be cursed if I leave him. Leave my leader? Really?
Like the disciples, we too need to understand what Jesus meant when he told them to watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees and why He was so serious about it. The false teachings and practices of corrupt and abusive leaders infiltrate our sincere desire for God very subtly like leaven in dough, and they begin dominating and corrupting our mind and soul, just as the leaven dominates the dough.
Jesus is ready to throw corrupt and abusive leaders in fire, so it’s ok if you feel ready to leave them.
“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 7:19