Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lessons in Leadership part 6 " Scapegoating"

Scapegoating is the act of singling out any person or persons for unmerited negative treatment or blame.  A scapegoat could be a child, a peer, an employee, religious group, or any other person or thing that can become a source of  blame.

In the story " Whipping Boy" by Sid Fleischman, we read the story about Prince Hoarce who is a spoiled young prince which craves attention from his father the king. The prince does a lot of mischievous actions but no one can lay a finger on him. Therefore, a solution was devised to give the young prince a " Whipping Boy". There was an orphan named Jemmy who became the princes' " Whipping Boy." Every time Prince Hoarce would do something wrong orphan Jemmy was beaten. Jemmy was beaten daily and longed to find freedom. The story ends with the Prince and Jemmy becoming best friends but  there is a lesson we can derive from this story.

As leaders, we have to face it that sometimes we will be a Prince to the people and sometimes we will become the " Whipping Boy." or scapegoat.  Most of the time we become the scapegoat for religious and prideful believers. Some Christians don't want to grow up or mature in the things of God although they will tell you that they are " blossoming in God" or " they are maturing in Christ". If you have to say it you..... ain't it.

In the business world, I see this kind of behavior all the time. The Corporate office makes a decision of change and sends it down through the ranks. The local leadership makes the change and ( hopefully) takes ownership of the Corporate change. The local employees ( who hate change.) blame the local leadership and start spreading words of conspiracy. " They are out to get me fired!" It is funny to watch but sad to see the ignorance of some people at the same time.

Some people have to blame all their problems on someone. Why do we do that as humans? Why do we find a scapegoat in life? Jesus became the Scapegoat for all man kind because the human race needed a way out from their sinfulness.

The term scapegoat actually came from the Bible. On the Day of Atonement , the people of Israel would slaughter a goat for the remission of sins.

Leviticus 16:7-10  He must take the two male goats and bring them into the LORD'S presence at the entrance to the tent of meeting.  (8)  Then Aaron must throw lots for the two goats. One lot will be for the LORD and the other for Azazel.  (9)  Aaron must sacrifice the goat chosen by lot for the LORD as an offering for sin.  (10)  But he must bring the goat chosen by lot for Azazel into the LORD'S presence. He will release it in the desert to Azazel in order to make peace with the LORD for himself and his family.

The Old Testament ritual was a foreshadow of what Jesus would do for us thousands of years later. Jesus became the ultimate scapegoat for all of mankind but mankind still does not get it.

It is hard being some one's scapegoat or " Whipping Boy". Number 1 it hurts and Number 2 it is unfair but it comes with the territory. Immature people will make immature decisions in life. People make scapegoats because it keeps them from owning up to their own mistakes or failures. Many people do not like to see their own failures. Hey, who does? I don't like seeing my own failures a lot of times but I have to come face to face with them. If I don't I can't never really move forward in my life nor do I ever really mature as a believer and a human being.

I have been people's scapegoat and " whipping boy" throughout my life. Many have betrayed, gossipped about, and even try to physically harm me all due their belief " I am at fault for their screwed up life."  It use to bother me because I am a man that desires justice and rightness, but I have learned over the years to take the insults in stride. It is not always easy but you must. You can not allow the actions of some stop you from pressing forward with the plans of God for your life. Now I am not saying that you or I should live a life that " We are always right and the world is always wrong." That is a dangerous place to be in. What I am saying is to move forward despite the attacks and whippings you might sometimes get as leaders. Push back the need to retaliate and just trust God. Trust me, God is the avenger for his people.  I have seen it time and time again. Those who use you as their scapegoat typically end up having to face their own demons.

So why do people use you as a scapegoat?

1. They find it easy to blame others for their messed up lives.
2. Many don't want to face their own bad behaviors and admit them before God.
3. The leader is the easiest target because he or she are at the front of the line.
4. Many don't want to mature in their walk with God and base their walk solely on the leaders walk with God.
5. People, including me at times, are just plain ignorant. Most don't try to look beyond themselves. Selfishness is a reoccurring disease within the human race.

How many times have you seen it or heard it where people blame others for the way their life is currently. Below are some statements I have personally heard from others through witnessing.

1. " I am not going to church because they are a bunch of hypocrites..."
2. " I don't trust people because of my childhood..."
3. " You stopped me from achieving in life; you held me be back..."
4. " My parents were religious and made me go to church when I was young..."
5. " I can't make my production at work because the company keeps changing everything..."
6. " The pastor fell into sin, so why should I serve the Lord."

These are just few. I am sure you have heard more as well. The truth of the matter is this. " The only person that stops you is YOU." Scapegoating holds people back and keeps them in a child like state. This is why many never achieve anything in life.

So how can you and I handle scapegoating in our lifes?

1. Be humble and honest with yourself.
2. Don't let harsh words or actions hinder your walk with the Lord.
3. Pray for those that despitefully use you and say all manner of evil about you. Wait a minute that is a bible verse. LOL!!!!   Matthew 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
4. Allow the scapegoating situations to mature you and to build you up in your faith before the Lord.
5. Don't let the scapegoating turn you into a scapegoater. ( I know this is not a word but bare with me.) It is easy to allow the actions from others to hinder your progression as a person. Be a leader and don't allow it to happen. I have had some good leaders in my life and I have had some bad ones. I would not go back in time and change a thing. Even the bad leaders have taught me a lot in life and I owe them my gratitude.

Scapegoating comes with being a leader. You must rise above the harsh words and evil incidents. The enemy will use anything and anyone to stop you from obtaining the prize from the Lord. Be the " whipping boy" when you need to be and move on in your life. The lashes might sting for awhile but trust that our God will bring healing.  If you are the scapegoater, then stop!!!! Stop allowing everything around you from maturing in the Lord. Own up to your own mistakes and trust God to bring deliverance for them.



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