In 2012, our Mission Board staff adopted five core values—trustworthy, encouraging, accountable, mature, and sensitive—the first letters of which spell the word “Teams.”
Every team member evaluates ministerial effectiveness according to these core values. Our core values guide our conduct as we help churches reach Kentucky and the world for Christ. While each value is indispensable, one value lays the foundation for the rest—trustworthy.
We define trustworthy as: “Can be relied upon as a resource to ease ministry pain, not create more.” The axiom is simple: trustworthy people are truthful people. They embrace truth in order to reject duplicity’s demonic lure.
What is duplicity? How does duplicity kill trust? Why should leaders fight against duplicity and walk in truth even if others misconstrue their actions as duplicitous?
Paul J. Griffiths, in his work Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity, contends, “We lie to ourselves when, self-deceived, we obscure our creatively diverse uses of the lie from ourselves and etch the dubious portrait of the truth-teller upon our souls with the acid of the lie denied.” Put simply, the problem with telling lies is that one will eventually embody the lies one tells, and therefore be unable to discern what is true or false.
In wisdom literature Solomon states, “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devices wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19). Each attribute characterizes the ways of duplicitous souls. They breathe out lies.
Michael James Williams, in his work Deception in Genesis, describes a duplicitous personality thusly: “Deception (duplicity) takes place when an agent intentionally distorts, withholds, or otherwise manipulates information reaching some person(s) in order to stimulate in the person(s) a belief that the agent does not believe in order to serve the agent’s purpose.”
That is to say, a duplicitous person expresses ideas contrary to personal belief in order to win followers. These leaders are extremely dangerous because their only commitment is to themselves, not the kingdom of God. They have tattooed above their brow, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” As a Christian leader, I am thankful when God allows heat to turn up in my life or the lives others to expose potential lies that might remain dormant within the heart’s corridors. Criticism will cause leaders to retreat or run to the Sovereign asking, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2). No leader is immune to unknown or known sin (Psalm 19:10-13). Humility and repentance are the way out of the tangled web of duplicity (James 4:6-8).
The very nature of duplicity destroys one’s ability to discern good and evil.
Time will be spent spinning tangled webs and victimizing those who follow.
As a Mission Board staff, we refuse to weave tangled webs of suspicion against brothers and sisters in Christ because our churches are the bride of Christ.
I will close with this sure word from wisdom literature on leading well: “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9)
Curtis Woods is associate executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.