Moral Leadership

The affection and commitment one has for one’s country must not be greater than that of one’s affection and commitment to God, lest we commit idolatry. However, our devotion to our nation should surpass that of our individual aspirations and pursuit of security.

If we are unwilling to participate in representative government, then we are willing to watch our fragile freedoms and culture crumble before our eyes. If we are unwilling to seek God, call upon Him to heal our land, then we are willing the apathy of decadence. If, indeed, we are unwilling to actively serve, perhaps die, for our blessed nation, then we are willing to live among the ashes of surrendered hopes.

As United States Citizens we must be diligent stewards of an inherited government, striving to improve and bequeath it to the next generation to improve upon. This process is a privilege, but more so, an obligation. It must not be a process we shun because of unpleasantness, nor must we abandon it to others despite folk theologies that teach otherwise. By God’s grace and our personal involvement, government will become what the Creator intended it to be.

If we by ignorance, indifference or timidity, stand by and do not champion the Judo-Christian ethic and historical consensus which founded this nation, if we do not forcefully and eloquently place our ideas into philosophical competition, if we do not offer our services, voluntarily or vocationally, if we do not pledge our sacred commitments, then not only will we demonstrate apathy and poor citizenship, but we will, by default, give silent approval to the status quo and to future cultural and political trends. In a republic, if one does not protest a wrong, one gives tacit consent to it.

Government is good because God ordained it. Government cannot stand in judgment over God. On the contrary, God stands in judgment over government. When this, or any government, places itself in higher authority than its ultimate Creator, it is our duty first to democratically reform such a government. If unsuccessful, we must protest, and then openly brake any illegitimate laws.

If a government continues to usurp power from the people and willfully places itself in opposition to God, then it becomes imperative that we forcefully abolish such an illegitimate government, instituting a legitimate one. Our actions must be just, and we must be willing to suffer the consequences of such drastic measures.

This government, which many have fought, shed blood, and sacrificed their lives for, cries out for moral leadership, a concept some find distant or confusing. Please allow me to define it.

One can be moral and not be a good leader, but one cannot be a good leader and not be moral. The moral leader is moral in private as well as in discharging public duties. Moral leadership is that spiritual quality that has been developed through want and prosperity, routine and crisis, peace and war.

The moral leader is one who has earned the respect, and inspired the trust of his or her followers, and the people know that their best interest, and the interest of their collective cause, are in their leader’s heart, even when his or her decisions cost them their security, their fortunes, their limbs or their lives.

Electing, appointing or following moral leaders is surely God’s will. God told Moses to “select capable men from all the people, men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves.”

The Apostle Paul affirms government for the age in which we live. Human government is penultimately an emergency order; that is, it will suffice until it becomes ultimately personified by God himself.

Citizens cannot perfect government, but we can, and must, continually improve it. If this government, or any government, poisons the land with corruption, immorality, we are instructed to call out for an antidote, a healer. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will heal their land.” May I offer such a prayer?

God, you walked among us, loved us, and redeemed us, with a great price. Though our purchased citizenship is in heaven, we are gathered into a political community on Earth. We are here as concerned citizens; but more than that, we are here as active participants in a state, a nation and a world. May we be instruments to influence culture and make government what you intended it to be.

We seek your face and your grace. We seek a new direction. Guide us, Lord, and do heal our land. Work through us to do your good will and to permeate government and culture with integrity and moral leadership. And by your grace, we will continue to institute benevolent government and be the trustworthy stewards you called to be over it. In our Lord’s Name, we pray. Amen.

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About Wesselhoft, Paul

Retired U.S. Army (Airborne Ranger) Chaplain; State Representative, Oklahoma House of Representatives; Representative, Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
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