There’s no question, we are living in truly challenging times. Every few weeks another stunning world circumstance gets laid on our already-burdened shoulders.

There is so much confusion, divisiveness, and fear surrounding us that we men, who long to be effective spiritual leaders, can find ourselves at a complete loss as to how to live and lead.

I recently read a poem from a friend that sheds helpful light on the kind of attitudes we men should not demonstrate, and the kind we should emulate.

Steve Bell’s poem, entitled “I Got This,” imagines Jesus’ perspective in his encounter in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I Got This

After receiving a kiss

          the cops show up

Pete draws his sword 

          waves it in 

An officer’s face

then raises it high 

        to warn them

to protect me

to save me,

Except he cuts off

An ear, the ear of

       The wrong guy,

An aide to the high priest.

Sir, look at me.

You’re bleeding,

       Let me touch you.

There.  Ear replaced.

Sigh.

Guys, don’t you get it?

       I got this.

In fact, my Father can send

       72,000 warriors,

Angels with flaming swords.

As usual, you miss the bigger point,

this day belongs to

      this arresting horde.

Evil gets one shot 

At me. 

Lower your weapons. 

I got this.

See you in three days.

— Steve Bell (June 2021)

I’m struck by Peter’s attitude, probably based on good intentions, yet still misguided:

  • He thinks the battle is against flesh and blood. It’s not.
  • He thinks undisciplined violence is the solution. It isn’t.
  • He thinks Jesus needs him to cover his back. He doesn’t.
  • He thinks he’s the hero of the story. He’s not. Jesus is the hero.

There are lessons for us here as spiritual leaders, men:

  • Our battle is not against flesh and blood. It’s against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
  • We may think violence is the answer to our challenges. It’s not.
  • We may think we’re the hero and Jesus needs us to cover his back. He doesn’t. He’s Jesus.

In the spiritual challenges we face right now, every day, we are called to lead like Jesus. We should not fall to misguided anger and violence as Peter did in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Nor, should we fall to passive silence and paralysis, as the first man, Adam, did in the Garden of Eden. The world has paid an enormous price for his passivity ever since.

Many men act badly in life’s confusing gardens. Some boil over in anger. Some stay stuck in fear.

We follow the example of Jesus who always spoke and acted out of truth and grace.

  • Truth compelled by conviction and courage.
  • Grace compelled by compassion and humility.

We should lead the same way, in both courageous truth and in compassionate grace.

In the end, God is in charge; and Jesus will be the hero of the story.

He’s got this.