The world is longing for true leadership
As published in Die Burger and Die Beeld - Godsdiens Aktueel
The US presidential election was degenerating into a circus when the Coronavirus called the show to order for a while. However, one involuntarily wonders where America and the rest of the world are headed. It would seem that we are currently experiencing a leadership crisis. Virtually around the world, we are witnessing leadership that makes our throat tighten. However, a special woman, Angela Merkel, remains an exception for me. Let me elaborate. There are those who constantly speak disparagingly of our own president. However, take a look around. Now is indeed a time to pray much more for our leaders.
The question about how we ended up here has been asked continuously. The simplest answer is to say that leaders do not just fall from the sky but are primarily the product of a society. How is it possible that America at the time, with only a few million inhabitants, could produce the Adam’s, Lincoln’s and Jefferson’s of the world yet struggle to get two proper presidential candidates today with over 300 million inhabitants?
Perhaps we need to acknowledge that power, money, the preoccupation with ourselves and distorted value systems have gained a greater foothold on all of us than we would like to admit. Old-world serviceability, humility, and respect for one another and opponents, had to make way for verbal attacks that were often accompanied by lies. We also see it in our own country.
While leadership courses can help and shape us, true leadership is not cultivated in leadership courses. I support the theory that true leadership is formed in value-driven societies, around kitchen and dining tables, and in parental homes. Education is just as important as teaching. Leadership is often the result of hardship and people understanding what it means to make sacrifices.
Christ once spoke very specifically to his disciples about leadership. However, he contrasted it with worldly leadership and singled out two virtues: humility and service (Luke 22:26).
This does not mean that we do not need well-trained, visionary, innovative, brave, and disciplined leaders. Christ's said that there are basic principles, without which all these noble qualities derail.
We live in a time of extreme complexity, where we see that anxious, insecure people are increasingly looking for right-of-way solutions and answers. The extremely explosive situation that has developed around farm murders confirms this. Growing racial tensions have brought new challenges to leadership. How is a new social cohesion and a new social contract wisely created? We now desperately need smart and wise leaders who can do this. Leaders who are silent before God will find that there are still many voices grinding through you. However, God can create a wise, distinctive harmony in you, which brings light and direction in a dark time.