I just heard one of the teachers at my youngest child's pre-school ask the class, "Who wants to be the line leader today?" They all enthusiastically raised their hands. Even at age 4, we humans are conditioned to think it is better to lead than follow.
Yesterday in church, I talked about this whole business of being a follower, because all of us are. We are all followers. We are either good ones or bad ones, but following in some capacity is not a choice for any of us really. So what kind of follower do I want to be?
King David had two followers that exemplify what it means to be either a good follower or a bad one. When David needed to have Uriah, the Hittite (One of my ancient ancestors. Get it? "HItt-ite." Never mind.) killed to cover up his one night stand with Uriah's wife and the resulting pregnancy, he gave the order to one of his followers - a general named Joab to put Uriah where fighting was heavy and then have the other soldiers back away so Uriah would be killed. Joab had a choice to make. He could risk his career and maybe even his life and challenge David, or he could obey and become complicit in murder. Joab chose to do as instructed.
Another of David's followers viewed his responsibility to the King differently. Nathan came to David about his actions with Uriah and Bathsheba. He told David a story about a great injustice a rich man had inflicted upon a poor, innocent man. David became emotional and swore to have the rich, unjust man killed if Nathan would identify him. Nathan said to David, "You are the man." It led David to see his sin for what it was and brought him to a place of great remorse and repentance.
Most followers go along to get along. They just avoid the subversion of truth or core values and hope it all blows over. Others cannot let it go, but are not courageous enough and do not love the person, or group enough to speak up. They just quietly pick up their ball and go home. Both of these responses are sin.
Followers have a responsibility to speak up in love when the values that matter most are being subverted. It does not matter that it's hard. It does not matter that no one may want to hear it. If we love the community, organization, family or church we part of, really good followers will speak the truth in love no matter what. So be a great follower.