United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

A Failure to Lead

Sometimes a failure to lead gets us all in trouble. We're still witnessing the government shutdown in the United States, the failure between the Presidency and the Congress to come to some solutions over government spending, and now it's still in shutdown. My favorite heroes out of this all have been the World War II Veterans who stormed their monument in Washington, DC the other day, and refused to be turned away when it was closed down. But we have bigger problems here.

A failure to lead is at the heart of this in many ways because the President and the leadership in Congress are not able to come together and to negotiate a settlement that will keep things operating and the country moving forward. Negotiate and compromise. Perhaps compromise is a dirty word for some, but when it comes to the art of governing on a human level today and in politics, individuals and parties, people have to be able to come to the table, talk through the issues, and give up a little bit of something for the good of the larger whole - in this case, the government, the people, and the role of the United States and the world. As this continues on that particular area, America's stature, is being eroded. And it's a critical time for that in the world scene. We can't really afford our stature and our ability to be eroded any further.

Jesus made a statement in Matthew 5:24-25 that I think speaks to this a great deal. Actually it's verse 25-26. He said, "Agree with your adversary quickly while you are in the way lest your adversary deliver you to the judge and the judge hand you over to the officer and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly I say to you, you will by no means get out of there until you have paid the last penny" (Matthew 5:25-26).

Agree with your adversary quickly. People are going to have difference of opinions, especially in politics. The art of leading in politics is the ability to negotiate, compromise, and take only a part of the pie if necessary. Leave 20% on the table. Leave 25% there. If you can get 80 to 75% of what you want, that is winning in the art of politics, sometimes even in the art of life and leadership today.

And I think when Jesus said agree with your adversary quickly, people are always going to have differences of opinion, but if we get intransigent and if we get stubborn and hostile at whatever level - whether it's the government of the United States or whether it's your relationship with your boss, your wife, your husband, someone else that in a sense comes into an adversarial relationship with us, we have to be able to come to an agreement to move our life, our family, our business, and yes even the government forward. And that is an art. And that is where sometimes we have to understand exactly what Jesus was getting to in a point like this.

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