Think about it for a moment. You reacted to something real or imagined and as a result distracted those in your immediate vicinity. We all seem to do this in life with all sorts of things. I was teaching last week and watched as one person received a funny text or email that they then showed the person next to them and the ripple throughout the room happened in a matter of seconds. We see this every week in church when someone inadvertently sneezes or drops a book onto the floor. And the distraction is real and measured in either example: the intentional phone sharing or the unintentional sneeze.
My question here is, what is the culpability of the person who started the ripple? They created the vibration that caused the distraction of the group. I spoke with a counselor about this idea and they told me in grand psychologist speak that the initial vibrating person had only culpability to themselves and not the others that were distracted. And while I understand the principles of being responsible for ourselves I also believe that if we choose to be leaders then we must accept the consequences of our behavior. The Bible talks about the extended responsibility of those that choose to teach and preach the Gospel. It goes far enough to explain the added responsibility on those that do these things. James 3:1 issues a warning:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1 ESV).
I find truth in these words and conviction to strive to be a better leader. One that works diligently to not be a vibrating force that causes my neighbor to stumble. I choose to switch my phone and myself to silent verses vibrate when the situation calls for that level of leadership.