If you’re a leader, is it better to be loved or feared? Which would choose? What if it had to be one or the other? If you’re loved, you aren’t feared. If you’re feared, you aren’t loved.

The truth is that many of us have bought into that dichotomy, but it’s a false one. There’s no need to choose between the two. Don’t believe me? Take a look at who God is in the Scripture. Is he feared or loved? Does he make a choice? (Answer: he’s both).

Perhaps, if you’re a leader, it’s time to choose both, just like God does.

Proverbs 14:26 provokes some thought: “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.”

First, let’s admit that we put our “fear”–our respect and willingness to follow–in many people and things that are simply not worthy of it. Only one is worthy of our true and biblical fear, and that’s God himself. To “fear” God isn’t to walk around scared of him, but to believe him, to trust him, to follow him, to obey him.

Second, let’s also admit that many of us are walking through life with very little confidence, very little sense that everything is really going to be ok. Why? Because of our misplaced fear. Only when our fear is in the Lord can we experience the strong confidence and refuge spoken of in the verse above. That’s biblical, and it’s not going to change.

Third, let’s consider for a second those under our leadership. Do they, because of having placed trust in us, have strong confidence? Do they, because they are under our care, have a sense of refuge? If not, why? Could it be that we’ve chosen to be feared, so that we will be respected, while those under our leadership needed someone who would both earn their respect and give them unconditional love?

What would it take today for you to place more trust in the Lord, to receive his confidence and refuge? What would it take today for you to choose neither to be feared nor loved, but to simply provide for your players/teammates someone in whom they can have confidence, someone from whom they can enjoy refuge?

Lord Jesus, help me to trust you today. Help me to rest in you. And help me to be the kind of leader who instills confidence in and provides refuge for those I lead. Amen.