Two words explain the root of what is wrong with our government. You thought I was going to say Republican and Democrat. Sorry… Good guess, but those aren’t the two I was thinking of. And it’s not just our government. These two words define the problem with every system of government. Which two? Selfish ambition. The reason governments don’t work well is that those who gravitate to positions of authority over others tend to be people who are ambitious and selfish. Of course I’m not talking about your favorite leader. But I am talking about the majority of those who claw their way up into positions of influence and power. Consider this:
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” (James 3:14-16)
In the United States, our leaders are supposed to represent and serve the people. Too often they behave as though the people are supposed to serve them. But the same root problem exists in repressive dictatorships. The people who manage to get to the top tend to be self-centered and driven. That’s not the kind of personality that works best to govern.
Imagine if our governments were filled with people who were described like this:
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. “ (James 3:17-18, NIV)
Next time you start thinking about someone in government, take a moment to pray for her or him. Ask God to fill them with those qualities which are developed from within by His Spirit, and to protect them from the destructive attitudes of the world. Then pray, “Thy Kingdom come…”
Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.