When Good Gifts Turn Bad

In my observation, some of the worst “troublemakers” in organizations of all kinds are women with frustrated leadership gifts.

Like all gifts, leadership can be used in positive or negative ways. Someone with the gift of hospitality may use it to build up the body of Christ–or to foster a clique. A gifted teacher may help others learn–or sit back and ridicule those who do teach. And women with leadership gifts can choose to embrace their gifts and the responsibility God has given them to exercise their gifts for his glory. Or they can reject their gifts, try to be someone else, and end up leading others in destructive ways.

Because they can’t squelch God’s gift, they can’t help but lead. They lead others astray, seek (and often find) followers, lead rebellions, and champion pet causes that are at odds with the goals of the organization as a whole. They criticize and find fault with their leaders. They manipulate others into doing what they want them to do.

I’ve known a few women who refused to embrace their leadership gifts. One of them tried to portray herself as a passive follower but behind the scenes, relentlessly bullied church leaders into supporting her pet causes. Another smiled demurely, disarming people while manipulating them into projects they’d later regret. One constantly led others in rebellion against whatever the boss said. And one bitter soul actually said she had the “spiritual gift of criticism.”

So why do women fail to embrace leadership gifts? Some are simply unaware of the gifts and calling God has given them. Some aren’t encouraged or even allowed to use their leadership gifts. Others are so uncomfortable with the idea of being leaders, they simply can’t accept the roles God has called them to. That’s when the trouble starts.

Such women are missing the joy of using their God-given gifts, and it shows. I pray that more women will grow in their gifts, accept them, and use them wherever God has placed them.

This blog post first appeared here on Christianity Today’s GiftedForLeadership.com.


  1. Connie Jakab says:

    wow Amy. You’ve really hit the nail on the head. For me personally, this is something I wrestle with every day because often when you step out to lead, there is much resistance that can make you wonder if you’re on the right track or not. A prayer I pray often is: Keep me true Lord Jesus. There’s a race I must run, there are victories to be won. Give me power every hour to be true. True to You and true to Your call.
    Thanks for your words today. They were needed 🙂

  2. Carolina says:

    I agree with what you said and I needed to hear it too. I recently started a small prayer ministry for women in the church. Out of all the women who go to my church, only 13 signed up (not counting my mom and myself). When the ministry was introduced, another woman spoke about it and her experience with it in the past when it was me who brought the idea and implemented it to bring our women together and make us more unite for what God would want us to do. I have tried to do the best I can but I’m a new leader and when I send out e-mails to get updated prayer requests or praises, only a couple of them will answer me. Sometimes I wonder if they are trying to push me out of what seems to be a clique or if they just humor me until I give up. I prayed about it today because I want to keep it going and I have seen the good that God can do through this ministry . It hurts being shut out. Any tips from anyone reading this would be appreciated.

    P.S. I’m 24, and all of the women in the ministry are older than me.

© 2012 Amy Simpson.