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Four Things Christian Leaders Can Learn from Ted Cruz’ Interpersonal Failures

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Burning bridges will cost you in the long run.

Ted Cruz seems to be an effective politician and GOP leader. Many consider him brilliant—“off the chart brilliant,” according to Alan Dershowitz.

Cruz ran a well-fought campaign from the margins. In a different year Cruz could have been the nominee, but he and Donald Trump often drew from the same voter pool… and Trump drew more.

In February, Ted Cruz speaking on Meet the Press said, “Conservatives are continuing to unite around this campaign.” Yet, they did not—at least not enough.

And, the postmortem on the Cruz campaign now turns, at least in part, to conversations about his interpersonal relationship challenges.

The Problem

If you Google “Ted Cruz reputation” you can see that it was not just his political opponents who did not like him, it was a lot of conservatives as well.

Now, this week, there are some sour grapes from the Cruz campaign that Marco Rubio did not agree to a unity ticket. That story contributes to the larger Ted Cruz narrative.

Here is the point: when Ted Cruz reached out to many—when he was the only viable alternative to Trump—people who would naturally oppose Trump simply did not have any positive relational connection with Cruz.

In other words, when Cruz needed friends, he started too late. Cruz had burned too many bridges to start building them in time to win.

Therein is a helpful lesson for many Christian leaders.

Building Friends

Years ago, I headed up a national ministry. I had a remarkable amount of difficulty working with one leader in what was supposed to be a partnership role. My experience confirmed the reputation he’d gained in such partnerships.

Then, through a twist of fate (providence), he ended up working for me. He came in ...

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