If You Cannot Lead, Get Out Of The Way

if you cant lead

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds, the leaders of Israel. Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: What sorrow awaits you shepherds who feed yourselves instead of your flocks. Shouldn’t shepherds feed their sheep? You have not taken care of the weak. You have not tended the sick or bound up the injured. You have not gone looking for those who have wandered away and are lost. Instead, you have ruled them with harshness and cruelty. (Ezekiel 34:2,4)

Read: Ezekiel 33:1 – 34:31, Hebrews 13:1-25, Psalm 115:1-18, Proverbs 27:21-22

Relate: I almost backed away from writing what I am about to write because it can very easily be seen as a political issue rather than a spiritual one. But everything is spiritual. The dichotomy between sacred and secular is a false one. Everything belongs to God and everyone, no matter what their motives and reasoning, is either working for Him or working against Him. Unfortunately, many are working hard to be as unchristlike as possible by denying the aid and succor that the primary victims of ISIS, the Syrian Refugees, so desperately need. There are twenty-six governors and multiple presidential candidates who have forfeited their right to lead by their willingness to walk on by as the poor lie bleeding and dying on the Jericho road. Jeb Bush, unlike some of the others, has shown partial willingness to help. He is willing for us to play the role of the good samaritan if, and only if, the one needing help is a Christian. Is this supposed to be better?

React: Honestly, what I am seeing on the rise is little other than another wave of McCarthyism. It has always been an evil, and low political tactic to stir up the masses by propping up an enemy. This enemy was communism up until a few decades ago. Even while that was in the process of collapsing, Saddam Hussein very generously offered to step in the gap by invading Kuwait. Over the next decade or so, this evolved from Iraq to the Middle East, and now to all Muslims. It is a sad truth that the terrorists and many western politicians are working towards the same short term goals even while their long term game is vastly different. Both are trying to use fear to increase power.

To those candidates, governors, and congressmen who are manipulating fear to increase their own power. Please stop. If you cannot lead, truly lead, those God has placed you in authority over, then just get out of the way. To those who call themselves Christian and yet are riding along on the same tide of fear, hate, and bigotry. Please stop. Either stop calling yourself a Christian or take a closer look at what Christ actually said about fear, revenge, and our enemies let alone love and what it takes to truly be His follower.

Respond: 

God, I repent on behalf of those who claim the name Christian even as they hate their fellow man. I repent for the way Your name is being disgraced by those who wallow in fear rather than demonstrate Your love. Help me to lead by word and example what Your love really looks like. Help me to show Your love at any cost even as so many others who claim Your name shut their doors or walk by on the other side of the road. 

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24 thoughts on “If You Cannot Lead, Get Out Of The Way

  1. Thanks and the same can be said about the grand=standing on the whole immigration issue. Yes we need to screen and check these people but closing doors generally only means the bad guys figure out another way in (Usually via first class air fare) . Blessings

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  3. Brother, thanks for the thoughtful article. And, thanks for repenting on my behalf. You have convicted me by this insight: “To those who call themselves Christian and yet are riding along on the same tide of fear, hate, and bigotry. Please stop. Either stop calling yourself a Christian or take a closer look at what Christ actually said about fear, revenge, and our enemies let alone love and what it takes to truly be His follower.” I guess I will stop call myself a Christian for a while until I can figure out the source of my anger and hatred.

    I read this the other day and thought it was useful. Source: http://thefederalist.com/2015/11/19/3-tips-for-a-more-civil-conversation-about-syrian-refugees/

    The Lutheran Catechism explains the meaning of the commandment against bearing false witness against one’s neighbor as, “We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.”

    I’m familiar with this because I break this commandment every day. I cast aspersions and question the motivations of others, even as I freak out when other people do the same to me.

    Whether you’re the president, a GOP candidate for president, a reporter with strong opinions, or just an average Facebook user, we could all work on treating our opponents’ arguments better. So don’t say people who aren’t as concerned about security risks as you are despise America. And don’t say people who don’t trust the government’s vetting processes as much as you do are scared of toddlers.

    Consider the possibility that other people simply have different prudence and charity calculi than you. Then, consider their arguments with an open mind rather than simply reacting emotionally.

    I know, Obama didn’t exactly lead on the path of charity when he said of Republican critics of his policy, “at first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans.” I’m sure it’s tempting to descend to that level of rhetoric. But even if the president, or a GOP candidate, or your cousin on Facebook is being immature; or saying your views are worse than ISIS, or your views serve as a recruitment tool for ISIS, or you don’t care if Americans die at the hands of ISIS, that’s not a good reason to join in.

    The fact is that our country is genuinely divided on this. And you might be surprised how the sides break down. On the one hand you have Obama, some Democrats, the refugee resettlement sector, much of the media, and 28 percent of the population. On the other, you have a bipartisan group of elected officials, including 27 governors, and most of the public. According to a new Bloomberg poll, 53 percent say they oppose resettlement of Syrian refugees, another 11 percent say we should only resettle the Christians who are fleeing ISIS’ genocide, and 8 percent say they’re unsure what to do. It is worth noting that 64 percent of the respondents also said, “Islam is an inherently peaceful religion, but there are some who twist its teachings to justify violence.”

    People on all sides of a policy issue are capable of changing their minds on a given matter, but condescension or anger probably won’t achieve such an outcome. Instead, try engaging the best of your opponent’s argument and see where that gets you.

  4. I hate t bust your bubble about this whole thing, but I couldn’t resist. You see…Ezekiel 34 is not really about sheep, of course; it is about people who acted like sheep. They needed a good shepherd to lead them. And the shepherds Ezekiel wrote about were not really shepherds, of course. They were the kings of Israel who had the responsibility of leading their citizens. For you students who study literature, this is called allegory. This way of comparing people with sheep and leaders with shepherds sounds like a nice way to talk about the relationship between kings and their subjects. But there was a problem.
    Shepherds are supposed to look out for the sheep and kings are supposed to look out for their subjects, but the prophet Ezekiel says that is not what the kings in Israel were doing. Instead of caring for the weak, the sick, the injured, the strayed, and the lost, these shepherds, or kings in this case, were mostly looking after themselves, feeding themselves, fleecing their subjects, and lining their own nests. Ezekiel said, “You drink the milk, you clothe yourselves with the wool, etc., but you do not feed the sheep.” And so, instead of helping their citizens, these national leaders were getting richer and more powerful at the expense of their citizens. The head honchos were getting huge benefits while the peons were barely eking out an existence. Greed was the name of the game. They were doing things to their own advantage. Does that sound like something you’ve heard before?
    In addition to this, Jesus teaches us about the good shepherd and how he lays at the gate to make sure His flock is safe. When all is said and done the welfare of any flock is entirely dependent upon the management afforded them by their owner. Read John 10:1-18 Jesus is The Good Shepherd and He is THE GATE TO THE SHEEP FOLD. He is the ONLY WAY IN-John 14:6. Come in and find pasture/Abundant life. But The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy! In conclusion, You are using Ezekiel to promote a political view, and you are using it out of context. To be very honest, those who are opposing the wave of Syrian Refugees (80% of whom are military age men between 18-34 years of age – hmmmm?) are doing exactly what the profet Ezekiel and Jesus Christ himself said Leaders should do…. look out for their own flocks!

    • Do you know what it takes to come into America as a refugee? It is not an easy or simple process.
      Great article Carol, as it brings up great points. The only argument I have with that article is ” without any effort to ensure that members of ISIS with evil intentions were filtered out” is incorrect. The screening process for refugees takes 18-24 months. Step1: Applicants register with the U.N. High commissioner for Refugees when they must submit: name, date of birth, place of birth, and biometrics most commonly an iris scan. 2. UN interviews applicants to confirm refugee status. All ids and biometrics checked again. 3. Applicants fulfill criteria to be considered a refugee under U.S.A. law and priority qualifications. 4. Applicant must meet UN resettlement requirements and are referred to the USA for resettlement. 5. Appplicants are recieved and interviewed by a resettlement support center, (RSC) operated by the US dept. of State’s bureau of population, refugees, and migration. The RSD compiles info for the SECURITY CLEARANCE PROCESS CONDUCTED BY THE US DEPT. of HOMELAND SECURITY. (DHS)6. Biographic and biometric checks:Refugee applicants are vetted against law enfrcement, intelligence commumnity and other relevant databases to help confirm the applicants
      7.Applicants are checked against the US STATE DEPT. CONSULAR LOOKOUT and SUPPORT SYSTEM, initiated at he time of prescreening by the R.S.C.(remember that’s the group mentioned at step 5)Enhanced interagency security checks also take place at this time.8. Second check of Biometrics (fingerprints, iris scan which by the way is in a global data base) If applicants met certain criteria, the RSC request Security Advisory Opinions from the law enforcement and intelligence communities. 9. Third biographic check:
      If applicants are within a designated age range, the National Counterterrorism Center conducts an interagency check, or IAC. Initially the IAC ws required only for Iraqi applicans but is now required for ALL QUALIFIED REFUGEE APPLICANTS.10. First biometric check: fingerprints and photographs are taken by a trained US goverment employy and screened against the FBI ‘s next Generation Identification System. 11. Applicants fingerprints are screened against the DHS Automated Biometric Identificaiton System, which contains watch-list info and previous immigration encounters in the US and Overseas. 12. If applicants are within a designated age range fingerprints are screened against the US Dept. of Defense Automated Biometric ID System. which includes fingerprint records captured in Iraq. 13. Syrian refugee applications are
      reviewed at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS headquarters by a Refugee Affairs Division Officer. 14. Applicants that meet certain criteria are referred to the USCIS FRAUD DETECTION and NATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR for additional review and research that is used by the interviewing officer to inform lines of inquiry related to applicants’ eligibility and credibility.15. USCIS reviews applicants in PERSON while ABROAD to determine whether or not thaey can be approved for resettlement to the US. 16. USCIS approves applicants for resettlement in the USA. 17. Applicants UNDERGO HEALTH SCREENING to ensure that those with a contagious disease do NOT ENTER THE USA. 18. Applicants complete cultural orientation classes. 19. Applicants are matched with a US-Based Resettlement agency, a process called Sponsorship Assurance. 20. Applicants undergo a second interagency security check to make sure no NEW info disqualifies them for admittance to the USA. 21. Prior to entry to the USA, applicants are subject to screening from the US Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center-Passenger adn the Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight Program.

      Any presidential candidate or governor would know this. They would also be fully aware that here in America we have brought in over 750,000 refugees through this process and not once has a single one of them ever been arrested or detained for terrorist related activities. Our leaders know this and yet they also know what way the political winds are blowing. In their greed for political power and to stay ahead of a fickle electorate they are allowing the sheep to lead them rather than leading. They are not seeking to help the poor and needy but rather than looking to their own interests. This is not primarily a political issue but a spiritual one. It is not a safety issue but an issue of love.

  5. Amen, amen, AMEN! My sister and I were JUST discussing this last night, and the belief that the truly Christlike approach would be to love and receive the wounded and displaced, no matter their culture. Thank you for writing what needs to be said. While there is a lot of hatred and hyper-nationalism out there, trust me, there are many of us who agree with you.

  6. I Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – Part of the job of senators and governors is to keep us safe. Their main concern is the safety of those they have been elected to lead. My understanding of our governor’s view (Scott Walker – Wisconsin) is that the refugee stream should be paused while the vetting process can be sorted out. He is not advocating a total shut down of the borders for an indefinite period. Our president has been consistently argumentative with anyone who disagrees or questions his decisions. This does not encourage people to trust or believe that he has things under control. Since I am not in the position of setting policy or changing laws it seems a better question would be, “What can I do where I am to help with the suffering around the world?” Syria is not the only place where people are hurting. Each of us has our own God given sphere of influence. To concentrate on what I can do instead of what others should be doing seems like a better use of my time and energy.

    • America already has an effective and thorough refugee screening process. Ive explained it in another comment here. Our political leaders know this and their catering to an unfounded fear is nothing more than petty politicking.
      You are right that each of us should do what we can where we can. A quick google search can highlight how you can volunteer with refugees in your area. Since the US has brought in over 750,000 since 9/11 I am sure there are some in nearly everyones local area. But if you are in America you are in a position to effect policy. Contact your elected representatives. Let them know that you care about the needs of our neighbors. And dont vote for idiots who will use fear and bigotry to propel themselves into office.

      • I will have to respectfully disagree with your assessment. It’s unfortunate that words like idiot, fear and bigotry have crept into what I thought was a thoughtful dialogue. At the end of the day it is God who I need to please. I am accountable to Him alone. Everyone has a different passion and God given role in this varied world. I pray that each one finds it and brings glory to Him alone.

        • With what in my assessment do you disagree? I’ve posted the screening process, if you don’t think it is thorough enough how could it be improved? Do you disagree that 750k refugees brought in through this process without a hitch is a pretty good track record? Do you disagree with what I believe are the motivations behind our politicians who are trying to block those who are trying to be a living embodiment of what is written on the Statue of Liberty? I am sorry if you don’t like my use of idiot and bigotry but that is my thoughtful assessment of the governors and candidates who are rrying to prevent refugees from coming to America. If they don’t know how thorouh and successful our screening process is then they are an idiot for holding or running for an office they are clearly not qualified for. If they do know and yet still try to avoid helping those in need then they are allowing bigotry to cloud their judgment. More than a cultural or geopolitical issue, this is a moral one. This is a question of whether or not we will love our neighbor.

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  8. I am thankful for this post and all the replies about an important, sensitive subject. I especially appreciate how the article and each reply are respectful and sincere. I shall continue studying the Scriptures, wholeheartedly, continuously seek God for guidance, pay attention to what He tells us all. Jesus told us to be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.

  9. I can’t imagine we have anything in common. I do not believe in god at all and any and all debate between religions I find to be a waste of time. I have witnessed countless acts of inhumanity done in the name of faith my entire life. Although some wars are fought over money I believe the majority of wars have been fought over religion and trying to force one religion or another on people who do not wish to accept it. I do believe in being kind and loving to one another. It is both sad and horrific that some christians have espoused the same hateful bigotry that they have accused other religions of. I can’t say it shocks me though. I wish you only happiness but I cannot follow your blog if the main theme is about religion. 🙂

  10. Amazing job! It looks like I’ll be visiting this blog more often. I love that you do not mince words when it comes to Biblical truth. Awesome! I needed this.

  11. I often hear a voice in my head that asks, “is there a leader in the house?” Too many places truly don’t have enough great leaders with spirit/ love-driven visions.

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