Leadership and Self-Deception

As part of planting Blue Bridge Church, I am involved in a coaching network.  One of our recent assignments was to read Leadership and Self-Deception.  Here are a few of my takeaways:
  • Identify someone with a problem, and you’ll be identifying someone who resists the suggestion that he has one.  That’s self-deception – the inability to see that one has a problem (17).
  • [Develop] a culture where people are simply invited to see others as people.  And being seen and treated straightforwardly, people respond accordingly” (40).  
  • Characteristics of self-betrayal: 
    • I act contrary to what I feel I should do for another
    • I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal
    • My view of reality becomes distorted
    • I enter the box
    • Over time, certain boxes become characteristic of me, and I carry them with me
    • By being in the box, I provoke others to be in the box 
    • In the box, we invite mutual mistreatment and obtain mutual justification.  We collude in giving each other reason to stay in the box (105) 
  • What doesn’t work in the box: 
    • Trying to change others 
    • Doing my best to “cope” with others 
    • Leaving 
    • Communicating 
    • Implementing new skills or techniques 
    • Changing my behaviors (140) 
  • Knowing the material: 
    • Self-betrayal leads to self-deception and “the box” 
    • When you’re in the box, you can’t focus on results 
    • Your influence and success will depend on being out of the box 
    • You get out of the box as you cease resisting other people 
  • Living the material: 
    • Don’t try to be perfect.  Do try to be better 
    • Don’t use the vocabulary – “the box,” and so on – with people who don’t know it.  Do use the principles in your own life 
    • Don’t look for others’ boxes.  Do look for your own.
    • Don’t accuse others being in the box.  Do try to stay out of the box yourself. 
    • Don’t give up on yourself when you discover you’ve been in box.  Keep trying
    • Don’t deny that you’ve been in the box when you have been.  Do apologize; then just keep marching forward, trying to be more helpful to others in the future
    • Don’t focus on what others are doing wrong.  Focus on what you can do to help.
    • Don’t worry about others helping you.  Worry about helping others (174-175)     

Three changes that I will make…

  • Prayers of confession (Psalm 139:23) 
  • Thoughts of empathy 
  • Conversations with accountability 
Leadership and Self-Deception


As mentioned several times before on this blog, one of my favorite family traditions is to read a book to my children.  We recently followed up The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit with a reading of the Hatchet (a recommendation by my good friend and avid readerRyan Smith).  

I have to say, with maybe the exception of the Magician’s Nephew, this selection was by far their favorite.  

My favorite quote was “the most important rule of survival, which [is] that feeling sorry for yourself [doesn’t] work” (65).  A good life-lesson, indeed. 

And now we continue on in our journey through Newbery Award winners.  Next stop: Shiloh.  

Any other children’s literature we should check out? 


Accidental Pharisees

As part of a reading group with a few local pastors, I just completed Larry Osborne’s Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride, Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith. 

Osborne writes, “[The Pharisees] eagerly took it upon themselves to determine who was in and who was out. They thought they were helping God by thinning the herd and keeping the riffraff out.  Unfortunately, they had no idea that the people they shooed away were precisely the people God was inviting to the party” (2406).

How does someone become legalistic?  A hypocrite?  Add to the gospel?  Osborne claims that such an attitude “starts with the same three steps.

  1. It begins with a failure to grasp the true gravity and depths of my own sin.  
  2. It’s followed by a heightened disgust for the sins of others.  
  3. It’s then justified by a cut-and-paste theology that emphasizes some of the hard sayings of Jesus while pretty much ignoring those that speak of his compassion, mercy, and grace” (2419).  
What do you do to ensure that you have not fallen into such a trap? 
Accidental Pharisees

The Broncos Made Me Do It…

Let me first go on record in saying that Peyton Manning used to be my favorite NFL player (even though the New Orleans Saints have been my favorite team for even a longer period of time).  However, my hate for the Denver Broncos will always be far greater than my love for any individual player (John Elway ruined me).  Therefore (and sadly), this is the first NFL postseason that I am hoping that Manning continues to show himself the greatest regular season quarterback but a pretty average postseason one.

Here are my NFL playoff predictions (not my preferences)…

AFC Wildcard 
Ravens end the Colts amazing turnaround (Indianapolis is just not quite ready for the postseason)

Texans advance beyond the Bengals (Houston better win at least one game considering their second-half collapse)

NFC Wildcard 
Redskins edge by the Seahawks (the game is not being played at the Clink)

Packers demolish the Vikings (everything changes after one more week of preparation)

AFC Divisional Games 
Falcons rout the Redskins (this is the best team to come out of Atlanta in a longtime)
Packers upset the 49ers (San Francisco will meet their match – even at home)

NFC Divisional Games 
Broncos send the Ravens home (Denver is clearly the best team on paper)
Patriots beat the Texans (Tom Brady will be far too much at home)

AFC Championship 
Broncos outscore the Patriots (Manning finally sends Brady home in the playoffs)

NFC Championship 
Packers bring the Falcons back to reality

Super Bowl
Packers narrowly pass the Broncos (another discount double-check)

The Broncos Made Me Do It…