Jason and I have been watching sermons on DVD in the evenings. One of these was on leadership. Leading by sympathy was an example of a wrong way to lead. This was backed up very well Biblically with many examples of poor leadership through sympathy. While I never thought about this as a style of leadership I instantly thought of many examples of such sympathy leadership that I have witnessed, and it has always seemed wrong to me.
I thought about my own life and realized that I have also wrongly done this at times with my children. You know, the ol’ “I have it so rough and none of you are helping or obeying” routine. How embarrassing. It certainly has never helped my case or accomplished anything. It is indeed poor leadership and bad parenting.
Then as I was pondering this idea text flashed on the screen that read something like, “Giving sympathy is always right; seeking sympathy is always wrong.” I was taken aback. Hmm. While I was completely on board with the premise that seeking sympathy as a way to get people to follow and do what you want them too (It’s really very manipulative.) is wrong, the quote didn’t specify in leadership. It just read, “Seeking sympathy is always wrong.” Is that true? This as a blanket statement was not backed up by Scripture. I have pondered this for hours.
What is sympathy? The main definition according to Webster is “The feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else’s trouble, grief, misfortune, etc.” When I am going through tough times, I do share what I’m going through with my husband, family, and friends and yes, I do seek prayer and sympathy. How can we bear one another’s burdens Gal. 6:2 or weep with those who weep Rom. 12:15 if our struggles are not shared? Now I’m not talking about walking around with a “poor me” complex. Am I missing something? Still, I’m not convinced of the statement. Have you thought about or studied this issue? Do you have a verse to Biblically support your position? Is it always wrong to seek sympathy?