The Private and the Public
By James Zekveld – contributed to www.ARPACanada.ca: Nobody likes a hypocrite. Public office often invites hypocrisy. The people who go into office want to keep a good image and sometimes it is just easier to fake it than accept the consequences of what you have done whether public or private. One temptation for people of any age is to separate the private and the public. There is a supposed separation between faithfulness to country and faithfulness to private relationships. A country should expect a faithful person, not just a faithful leader.
Canadians are surprisingly comfortable electing leaders who have little self-control in their private lives. British Columbians have elected their premier, after he was charged with drunk driving. They were also very forgiving of Svend Robinson, who stole a ring for his boyfriend. One of the top mayoral candidates for Toronto at the moment is someone who in the past has been charged with both drunkenness and the beating of his wife. Ontario’s former premier was not able to keep his marriage together. Not only Canadians, but Americans have been bad examples in this. In the Clinton administration Americans chose someone for the top position in the nation who could not stay faithful to his wife. Now the former vice-president Al Gore has divorced his wife.
Every man or woman is a whole person. If one part of the body is infected the rest of the body will be affected. We can keep various aspects of our life separate in theory, but in practice a dispute with our family can affect an entire day at work. If someone does not have self-control in his private life, how will he have self-control in his public life? A faithless person is a faithless leader. Consider the warnings in Deuteronomy against kings who collect too many wives and horses. There is a similar warning for pastors and elders in Timothy; the church is told to choose sober men of one wife for their leaders. God wants us to have leaders that are examples to us in all areas of life.
This is a good principle to aim for, but as with so many principles, it is hard to practice in a world full of broken families and faithless people. Ultimately our world is a world filled with the affects of Adam’s sin. We can begin to turn this around in the particular choices that we have to make in our daily lives as we walk in faithfulness to God. Be examples. Be leaders. Every man and every woman will most likely have a chance in his or her life to be a leader and he or she will have the chance to show the world what a faithful person can do in a position of leadership.
In a secular country like Canada we may not even have a good person to vote for. We must work and hope toward a future where the good person is the natural choice. Remember; a leader is a reflection and a representative of the people he rules.