As a leader, it’s easy to slip into hypocrisy because words are powerful and personal reflection is difficult.

Leaders know the power of their words. Just a little wind from our lungs will encourage, inspire, or instruct others. Affirmation gains loyalty, knowledge builds respect, and empathy wins hearts. Stories entertain. Laughter makes memories. Every leader understands that words make a difference.

Leaders are constantly evaluating success and failure. This isn’t wrong!–unless success is more important than faithfulness. Integrity leaks when we give in to fear and go after greater control. Rather than trusting God for the results, we overstep our responsibility (and dethrone God) by tring harder to be successful (on our own). Hypocritical words spring from fearful heart.

It’s difficult to look inward–it takes time and the results can be ugly. Additionally, soul care often goes unnoticed…and unpraised. Pull off a great event and you’ll get recognition. Spend an hour in your journal and no one knows or seems to care.

Of course, neglect that time and soon everyone will know…

When we give up on guarding our heart, fear’s foothold becomes a stronghold. Words become a tool for influence rather than an expression of truth and conviction. The hypocrite says what works in the moment to achieve his agenda rather than what is true. Our hypocrisy can’t help but leak out in passive aggressive comments or toxic breadcrumbs litter what should be praise to others.

The great danger facing the hypocrite is a rapid loss of influence. What an irony! The hypocrite seeks to extend his influence but ends up limiting it, loosing respect and trust. The typically begins with those closest to the leader and the decay spreads to teams, friends and volunteers.

The loss of influence is tragic, but the loss of intimacy with God is a travesty. As the hypocrite lies to others, he also begins to believe these same lies. The downward spiral of self deception short circuits spiritual growth and derails all hope of Kingdom impact.

We must not let hypocrisy in. Its only expression is out. We ought to watch closely, our lives and our ministry. It’s ok to want to become a better leader, but not at all costs. We must speak the truth, and keep a good conscience. The other option is to choose hypocrisy and give up our integrity. Who wins this battle in your heart today?