How Should Leaders React When Attacked?

by Casey Lewis August 12, 2016

As we go through life, we will face attacks. This is particularly true for those in leadership positions. Not everyone will agree with every decision we make as leaders. Some will disagree peacefully, while others will attack, seeking to cut us down and take our positions from us. When the inevitable attacks occur, how should we react?

How should leaders react when attacked?

In Psalm 62, David provides both an example and counsel of how we should react when attacked.

David's Example

In this instance, David was being attacked by two faced liars who not only wanted his position but his life (vs 3-4). Amazingly, David is not shaken, worried, or anxious. He doesn't plot, plan, or scheme. Nor does he murmur about his situation. Instead, he trusts in the sovereign plan of God. In verses 1-2 David writes,

"For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken." (Ps. 62:1-2)

When David did start to murmur, get restless, or anxious, he quickly quieted his heart by reminding himself of who his God is (5-7). David knows peace only comes when we fully trust in God, rely on, rest in, and submit our hearts to God. Only then are we able to remain silent before Him, trusting in His sovereign will for our lives.

As Christian leaders, we should emulate David's example, his actions, when others attack. We should wait on the Lord, trusting in, relying on, resting in, and submitting our hearts to Him. When we start to veer from that path, we should remind ourselves of who our God is – of His power, majesty, sovereignty, and love for us. 

While examples are powerful, sometimes counsel is necessary to get us going in the right direction. David provides just that in the second half of the Psalm.

David's Counsel

Let's start with the negatives. First, David tells us that:

(1) We shouldn't turn to people.​

In verse 9 David says,

"Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath." (Ps. 62:9)​

By "those of low estate" David means that we shouldn't turn to thugs to knock our enemies off. Nor should we turn to "those of high estate", those who have influence or power to get rid of our enemies. These, David says, are "lighter than a breath", they are "a delusion". In other words, if we place our trust in these people, we are trusting in nothing more than thin air. Thin air can't tip the balances in our favor. So when we are attacked, we shouldn't turn to others to take care of the problem.

(2) We shouldn't turn to criminal means.

In verse 10 David continues when he says,

"Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hope on robbery;" (Ps. 62:10a)

Extortion and robbery may work in the short-term, but in the long-term, they are only going to create more problems for us. You only have to watch your favorite murder mystery show to know that is true. Crime doesn't pay. It doesn't win in the end. Nor does it offer peace and joy. So we shouldn't turn to criminal means in order to solve our problems either.

(3) We shouldn't turn to our money.

I know that many of you reading this post are good upstanding citizens, so most likely you aren't going to hire a hit man or turn to criminal means to deal with your problems. But David is not finished. Look at the last phrase in verse 10. He says,

"If riches increase, set not your heart on them." (Ps. 62:10c)

Now we are getting a little closer to home. Most of us are probably what is considered middle class, which means you have or had a good job, some money in the bank, and a decent retirement. Your money has probably provided you with a comfortable lifestyle. It may have even gotten you out of a bind or two. There is nothing wrong with money, but there is something wrong with putting our trust in our money. Consider what Solomon says in Proverbs 11:28:

"Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf." (Prov. 11:28)

Our money can do a lot for us, but it will ultimately fail us in the end. So we shouldn't put our trust in our money, thinking it will solve our problem when others attack us.

Instead, when others attack, we are to do as David did.

(4) We are to place our trust in God.

Starting in verse 8, David tells us that:

We should trust in God alone at all times (Ps. 62:8).

I want us to zero in on the phrase "at all times" because if we are honest with ourselves, there are times when we trust in the Lord, and then there are times when we don't for whatever reason. That, however, is not what David tells us to do. He doesn't tell us to trust in the Lord sometimes, and then trust in something else or someone else at other times. Rather, he tells us to trust in the Lord at all times, even when people are trying to kill us like they were with him. At all times, we are to rely on the Lord. At all times we are to turn to Him.

We should be comfortable turning to the Lord at all times because of who our God is. Look at what David says about Him in verses 11 and 12,

"Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work." (Ps 62:11-12)

Those should be comforting, encouraging, and motivating words. Think about it. David doesn't just say that God is powerful, but that "power belongs to God." He is the One who possesses all power. Knowing the extent of God's power should drive us to place our trust in Him at all times instead of ourselves, anyone or anything else because no one is more powerful than Him.

So when you are attacked by others, and as a leader that's inevitable going to happen, do as David did, turn to the Lord, place your trust in Him, take rest in His sovereign plan and power. He is your salvation, your mighty rock. Take refuge in the Lord.

How does God's Word impact our prayers?

God invites His children to talk with Him, yet our prayers often become repetitive and stale. How do we have a real conversation with God? How do we come to know Him so that we may pray for His will as our own?

In the Bible, God speaks to us as His children and gives us words for prayer—to praise Him, confess our sins, and request His help in our lives.

We’re giving away a free eBook copy of Praying the Bible, where Donald S. Whitney offers practical insight to help Christians talk to God with the words of Scripture.