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Good and Bad Leaders

Many people I know do not trust the civil governments today. I sympathize completely with them. I may even have less confidence in the government than others do. There is an underlying reason for distrusting the civil governments of today that most people are not aware of. It is a very biblical point and was summarized well by the great General Robert E. Lee: "No man can know how to lead, unless he has first learned how to follow". In other words, the biggest problem with the civil governments is that they refuse to govern themselves!

We tend to be willing to trust someone to lead us if that person has already shown that he can lead himself -- otherwise known as "self-control" (which is one of the fruits of the Spirit). If someone properly is in control of himself, then he can be relied upon to know how to control others. This is why it used to be the case (what a sad state we are in today!) that no one would be elected to a public office if he was known to engage in certain sins regularly (drunkenness, excessive gambling, sexual promiscuity, etc). Today people seem not to care about these clear signs of a bad leader. Yet, each of us knows down deep that we should care.

When we see the all but total lack of self-control in many of today's politicians (even Catholic ones), it prompts us to be more careful about whom we choose to put into office. Someone may have a few good ideas (or even a number of good ideas, though that is quite rare!) but that does not mean that he will be a good leader or know how to implement those ideas. His moral character is essential in this. Parents should pay special attention here; teach your children self-control (they can begin learning it as soon as a few months old) because it is essential for all the aspects of a good character.

So, let us take to heart this admonition: whatever position you are in, learn self-control. Show a good example of this and others will see the potential in you (even if they do not know what they are seeing). Be cautious about any leader (Church, civil, business, or familial) who has little or no self-control. You may, someday, have to exercise a certain amount of self-control in resisting their lack thereof!


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