It is popular to criticize our leaders today. People are afraid of the direction our country is going. They are afraid that America is headed toward economic destruction. They see the debt growing at the most alarming rate they have ever. They do not understand how this can result in anything but inflation, enormously high taxes and long-term economic disaster.
Maybe people are right. Maybe we are simply reacting to the current situation without regard for the future. Maybe we are yelling for things to get better without the thought that a little pain now will make things much better later. However, does this mean we should criticize our leaders with impunity?
I have never been an elected official. I do not know what it is like. I have never walked in their shoes. I, though, am an American citizen and have an obligation to vote. I should do so for the best candidate without having to walk in his or her shoes. I am, also, a Christian who has a moral obligation to do what is right without regard for my own personal gain. I should do so without the vitriolic criticism which prevails in our country. I should do so with prayers for these leaders even when I don't agree with them. I should do so with discernment.
I may never walk in the shoes of a politician but I should be able to discern what is right. Right comes when we look at the character of the person rather than his or her popularity. Many people are relishing the polls which show the President's numbers flagging. This neither makes him right or wrong. His character will either stand or fail. Character is who a person is in both the good and bad times. He will not always know what to do. His character should lead him. Leading by popularity numbers shows a lack of character. His popularity will go up and down. His character should never change.
A leader should lead by principle not opinion. There should be underlying values which guide his or her decision. These values will show through also in good and bad times. They will not waver. They are values that exist in the heart of the leader. My responsibility is not to teach my leaders values. No one can teach values. You either have them or you don't. They come from a conglomeration of events, people and environments. Sometimes there is no good explanation where values originate because some people who have terrible parents, environments and horrible events in their lives live by the strongest of principles. I don't know why but I should look at those principles not criticize while ignoring them.
A leader must know the truth. Truth does not come from a simple gathering of information. No leader will ever gather all the information. This will result in delayed decisions. Delayed decisions will result in a greater questioning of the leader's ability to lead. Truth is not only something the leader says, it is something the leader believes. It is something that is known. Truth comes from beyond the leader. It is timeless.
Now, I admit that I have failed in every one of these areas which I am using to discern what is right. It makes me want to pray for my leaders more than I want to criticize them. It makes me understand that leadership will never be found in a political party nor a political person. Leadership is found in someone who walks the lonely path of the leader.
There are two things that are certain: Things will change and people will judge you. I don't want to be on the side of those who simply judge because of the political party a person belongs to. I want to pray for my leaders even if I will not vote for them in the next election. I want to discern what is right. I haven't walked in their shoes (or boots or loafers). I want someone who is a leader who will do right no matter what.
Romans 13:1 (NIV)
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.