0203. Leadership

It is election season in the United States once again, and we are constantly being bombarded with advertisements in every form from print mail to online media in an effort to gain our vote. In recent times, these political ads have been focused on platforms, policies, agendas, power, and last but not least, money. However, something that is not focused on anymore is leadership. And at a time when our country is at a crossroads, perhaps we should take a closer look at why.

There is an old saying, “As the King goes, so goes the kingdom.” In today’s language, this can be restated, “The aspects of the community reflect the aspects of its leaders.” So is this statement true or not? Let’s assume the statement as a hypothesis, and examine two distinct examples in an attempt to validate the statement.

In our first example, let’s examine Jesus and ancient Israel. During Jesus’ life, he was declared King of the Jews, sometimes sincerely, sometimes in mockery. If the statement holds true, then the state of Israel would reflect the life of Jesus. Jesus was rejected by the Jewish people, who betrayed him and left him to be crucified by the Romans. Israel in turn would be rejected by the world around them. Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans and the Jewish people would be persecuted over and over again no matter where they tried to make a home. However, the example does not end there. Jesus was miraculously resurrected and lived again three days following his death. And after nearly 2000 years of exile, the Jewish state of Israel would be miraculously resurrected and exist again in 1948. So there does appear to be some validity to the statement.

Let’s now dive into a modern example that hits closer to home. What do we see when we evaluate our cultural leaders today? Let’s start in the business realm. We see CEO’s in the news whose sole goal of their companies is to market to you 24 hours a day. Their message: “You need our stuff now.” Let’s now move to the entertainment realm. We see actors flaunting their wealth and oozing sexuality, telling us to live out our wildest dreams and fantasies. We also see athletes doing anything it takes to win, including cheating. Let’s move on to the media realm. We see media personalities and influencers on social media selling one thing: fear. They will make you afraid of what they think is wrong in this world and try to shut down anyone who might have a different view point. Finally, let’s look at the political arena. We see politicians using every dirty trick in their arsenal in an attempt to take power or hold onto the power they have. They advocate lawlessness by encouraging us to be disruptive or refusing to enforce the rule of law. They also spend our tax dollars without any regard of how to actually generate revenue, except maybe taxing the rich. There are common threads among the leaders in all of these realms: power, influence, self-indulgence, and judgment. And these leaders will do anything to hold on to that. Would you like to know the worst part of this? It is what we haven’t mentioned. None of our cultural leaders put a priority on families and most importantly, the protection of our most vulnerable citizens: seniors, women, and children.

So if our original statement is true, what would we expect to see in our communities today? People have little savings, because they spend every dollar trying to find happiness in material possessions. Sexual immorality runs rampant in our communities. Cheating and stealing are almost common practices because there are no more consequences for doing so. People are not speaking out for fear of being bullied or canceled. Hatred and violence is out of control on our streets. And we are dealing with an unprecedented number of broken families, leading to the abuse of those most vulnerable in our society: seniors, women, and children.

So it seems like we have proved our hypothesis to be true. The problem is nobody seems to see it. This is because our leaders have drowned us in a never-ending avalanche of data and information, such that it thoroughly confuses us. Remember, today’s leaders will do anything to hold on to the power and influence they control. While they say we need change, they themselves have no intention of doing so. And if they do not change, then our culture will not change either.

So what can we do? Is it hopeless? No, but it isn’t easy. The solution lies within the original statement: “As the King goes, so goes the kingdom.” So what do we want to see in our communities? Perhaps the most important aspect is love. We do not see a culture of love anymore. In the 1960’s, hippies called for peace and love. Do we see any of that talk anymore? Of course not, because one cannot legislate or politicize love. Love has to come from the heart. The problem is there is an entire generation of Americans who were not taught to love. When God was omitted from our culture, the positive aspects of God were also removed, one aspect being love. Oh sure, we know how to surf the web and shop online. We have all the drugs to alleviate our ailments. We can play online games all day, and learn how to destroy everything in combat-type games. However, we have forgotten how to love. And why is that? Because our leaders have forgotten how to love. Their team members have probably told them love is a sign of weakness. Think about the last time you saw a leader demonstrate love in public. Difficult, isn’t it?

What other things do we want to see in our communities? How about compassion? Generosity? Patience? Forgiveness? Joy? Peace? Kindness? Faith? Discipline? Humility? All of these are good things to desire. However, if we wish to see them in our communities, then we need to find and support successful leaders that exhibit these leadership skills. It’s a straight-forward answer, but not a straight-forward solution. When every leader is playing the same game, how can one break that cycle? 2000 years ago, one person would challenge and question the leadership role and the way things were done. He was a great leader who was a man of love, compassion, generosity, patience, forgiveness, joy, peace, kindness, faith, discipline, and humility. And Jesus would end up changing the world as we know it, and delegate to his disciples to spread his message to the ends of the earth. Therefore, the solution to the problem lies in finding effective leaders that make decisions that emulate the principles of Jesus. However, time may be running out. In Genesis 18, Abraham negotiated with God that if ten righteous people could be found in Sodom and Gomorrah, then God would spare judgment on the two cities. Unfortunately, none, except for Lot and his family, could be found, and judgment fell. What will happen when we can no longer find righteous and effective leadership to support in our country? What message will that send to God? Ponder that this election season.

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