October 23, 2016 • Life for Leaders
“Where there is no revelation people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.”
On Wednesday night many Americans tuned in to the final Presidential debate to hear what the candidates would say. We were hoping for clear distinction and direction on what America would look like under these potential leaders of the free world. The first two debates proved to be nothing more than a mudslinging contest focused on personal matters with no policy substance. The first half hour of Wednesday’s debate looked like it would actually be better… finally, we would get some substance and answers. Unfortunately by the end of the debate the rhetoric elicited my response below.
This has been an election that has borne us two vastly different candidates with only one thing in common — they are both historically unpopular. It feels as if we are being forced to vote for the lesser of two evils. (I will follow up with another blog to share my thoughts on this notion.) But what is the real problem with these candidates? Why are we so hesitant — even begrudging — to support either one? When it comes to Hillary Clinton, we can clearly identify the universal problem: she is widely viewed as untrustworthy. Her website is filled with policy goals, and one could argue that she has successfully expressed “her vision” for America. Whether we agree or disagree with her policies, or even trust her, it is undeniable that she has given us her vision.
Yet when it comes to Donald Trump, it becomes elusive on why support for him has been tepid at best… even as many Congressional Republicans are rapidly jumping ship. Yes, his rhetoric on women, immigration, the mentally disabled, and racial minorities has provoked enmity between him and these groups… but this isn’t the universal problem with Trump. What we have not been able to put our finger on is the feeling that Donald Trump has no vision. Since the Republican primaries, Trump has not once articulated a coherent or consistent policy. Rather, he has spent his time personally attacking Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio…and the list continues on to Hillary Clinton. In all of his rhetoric, he has not shown us revelation, or vision, of what America will be, other than the ambiguous “make America great again.”
Before you call me divisive, consider this from a theological perspective.
Proverbs 29:18 teaches us that where there is no revelation (vision), there is no restraint, discipline, or control. The fact that Donald Trump and his campaign have yet to exhibit self-discipline, control, or restraint, shows, by the Bible’s definition, a clear absence of a vision. Vision and rhetoric are not to be confused with each other. Neither are goals and a vision.
The point of this article is not to expose Donald Trump nor bash or defend Hillary Clinton. In fact, I would actually submit that both candidates are simply mirrors of our American society. It is impossible to critique Donald Trump for a lack vision without considering whether we as leaders have actually unified people around an enduring vision or merely a set of temporary goals. We must ask ourselves why we are leading the people we lead. More importantly, where are we leading them? Have we cast a vision of hope and then supplied action items and goals to achieve these intended ends? When we have a clearly defined vision, we will also be aware of the parameters or discipline needed to attain a victorious outcome. This election season provides us with a great opportunity to hold these candidates and ourselves mutually accountable for being vision-oriented leaders. We must resolve to put forth the discipline necessary to reach these highest ideals for the sake of those who follow us.
My question to you is: Got vision?
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What is the revelation (vision) that God has entrusted you to guide your leadership?
What are your goals or benchmarks for realizing this vision?
Do you have the discipline or restraint it takes to reach your vision?
God, we acknowledge you as the author and finisher of our faith. You are also the supplier of our visions. Teach us how to discern your vision for our lives. Help us in our times of testing to exhibit the discipline necessary to press for mark of the prize of your High Calling. Grant us the spirit of wisdom to lead those whom you have given to our care to the place of hope and fulfillment in you. Not by our power, but by your Holy Spirit we believe that we will be victorious. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.