At a city level, there's Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford, who's getting more notorious around the world each day. He's admitted to using crack cocaine during a "drunken stupor" and to other times when he's been "inebriated" in public. It gets more embarrassing for the mayor. He's been videotaped dropping the f-bomb and threatening to assault someone. These things are supposed to have happened since Ford has been in office.
Yes, Toronto's Mayor is human. We all make mistakes. But as the leader of Canada's biggest city, should his law-breaking lapses in judgement be acceptable? Where is the higher standard to which leaders are held?
Is high standard of leadership cracking at the top
Then there's Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who is being accused of lying and attempting to hide $90,000 originating from his office to pay back one senator's inappropriate expenses. This senator and three others have been accused of making fake financial claims for homes they don't live in or trips they didn't need to take. Whether or not these senators are eventually found to have broken laws, the Prime Minister is the one who appointed them to the Senate. He's the one who should be setting the bench mark for honourable behaviour.
The senators themselves have been quite the disgrace: from one who is promising to take down the Prime Minister along with him to another who entered a name-calling girl fight akin to one in a high school locker bay. I'm saddened by the seeming lack of integrity which all these leaders are displaying.
Distance provides perspective
I'm visiting Canada for a three month stint, and was strolling through the capital's ByWard Market (historic area and shops). There I noticed a window display at a boutique-style book shop: surrounded by Canadian history books was a chalk board sign quoting Proverbs 16 verse 18: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. It seemed to be a fitting judgement for the "save myself and stuff the rest of you" actions of the federal politicians and the "I don't need help" attitude of Toronto's mayor.
I used to work on Parliament Hill, covering politics for one of the nation's main television news networks. Before that I worked in a national newsroom covering the run-of-the-mill Canadian news of the day. But since moving to Australia, I've essentially chosen to remain blissfully ignorant of the daily beast that is current affairs.
That also means I was relatively unaware of the unfolding political drama until I returned to Canada. Now that I've come closer to the action again (geographically speaking), I'm scratching my head at what's become of my home and native land. Living on the other side of the world had afforded me a distant perspective, one that made it easier to have an optimistic view of Canadian issues.
A similar thing happens when history reflects on political leaders. One prime minister, president or king might be considered the least popular during his time in power. But then history can be far kinder, reflecting back on his accomplishments instead of his failings. Even voters can forget the scandals of a leader quickly enough to put them back in office for another term. It seems that distance in time, location or shared experience offers a different perspective.
Wisdom for our leaders
But, how do we get God's perspective on the types of men or women who should be leading our nations? A simple way is to look at what He says in the Bible about leadership.
I'd like to think that it's easy to agree that most people want someone wise to lead a country or city. Scripture says wisdom from heaven is "first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." (James 3 verse 17 NIV)
Governments, and all those in leadership, are all placed in their positions by God. (Romans 13 verse 1) Yes, we may have voted for the leaders of our democratic nations, but if we (as I) believe that the Lord is sovereign, then He already has a handle on who would get the top spot and how he or she would succeed or struggle in that role.
Supporting our all leaders
Instead of waiting for leaders to struggle and fail so we can point our collective finger their way, I recommend we support them before they ever get to that point. I'm sure being a federal politician, a mayor, or any type of well-known leader for that matter, is a tough gig.
Standing behind leaders is nothing new. The apostle Paul urges us to pray "for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives," (1 Timothy 2 verses 1-2 NIV).
Lisa Goetze currently serves full-time as a volunteer missionary at Youth With A Mission Brisbane. In her former life, she wrote for two national news shows in Toronto and Ottawa.
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