Some Thoughts on Moral Leadership

The violent clash in the beautiful city of Charlottesville should prompt us to think through and insist on basic moral leadership at all levels in our society. The alternative is unthinkable. Some thoughts…

  1. Our society needs moral leadership now.
  2. Moral leadership is not a function of public relations.
  3. Moral leadership must use words to clearly identify evils and virtues where they exist.
  4. Moral leadership must be more than words; it cannot be reduced to slogans or catchphrases.
  5. Moral leadership takes action.
  6. Moral leadership requires a sustained commitment that never ends.
  7. Moral leadership is not naive about human vice; it examines the deep roots of evil; it does not offer simplistic solutions.
  8. Moral leadership does the hard work of discernment and is shaped by deep wisdom.
  9. Moral leadership must come from spiritual leaders who serve the greater good, not just their own tribes.
  10. We should expect political leaders to understand and apply fundamental moral values like dignity, truth, and freedom with precision and consistency.
  11. We should discuss now: “what are the fundamentals of character and integrity required for moral leadership that we should apply to all leadership selections in the future?”
  12. Moral leadership does not lie within us, it ultimately must come “from above.”

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:16-17).

What do you think?


26 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Moral Leadership”

  1. I have always liked the summary attributed to socrates: practical wisdom is the combination of moral will and moral skill. With our preference, for rules and guidelines, (for what is administratively symmetrical over what is right and wise), we’re losing our moral skill. With all that we do around incentives and subsidies were losing our moral will. The muscles of leadership are atrophying under the relegation of public leadership to formulae and tribal affections, rather than to the mature spirit-inspired wisdom to which you point us, Mel.

    And must not only call our leaders to this, we must be the leaders that are so called, no longer shrinking from generous engagement in the public square. We must worry less about the uniforms we wear than the mission to which we are calling ourselves.

  2. I recommend a wide distribution , application and lifestyle practise of the principles promoted in John MacArthur’s book :
    “The Vanishing Conscience” – ‘Drawing the Line in a No-Fault, Guilt-Free World’
    published by Thomas Nelson

  3. How thankful I am to read you insightful wisdom, Mel, when our spirits are easily pulled down by the secular, evil world.
    Bless you, always a leader in every circumstance.
    Anne Owens

  4. Appreciate the message and it’s timeliness. The reminders that moral leadership is ultimately from above is very encouraging. It also reminded me to pray more for people in public offices. Their office does not replace my own responsibility to be a moral leader.

  5. I could not agree with you more, Mel. The challenge we face today is our failure to first recognize and then acknowledge that God is the source of our value system. It is from that source that all other things follow e.g. right from wrong, good over evil, truth versus lies.

  6. It is a sad day when Nazi flags, the KKK and White supremacists march in a United States city surround a church while people are praying inside. Nazi flags, torches, chaos, disturbed people wearing Make America Great caps. My country, this United States of America, is being debased and abused. We are losing our moral leadership in the world. We are separated from the ideals that founded this nation where all people are created. I agree that we must pray for our leaders and for our beloved nation. Give us Oh Lord your blessings teach us to love. Give us a big heart to forgive.

    1. Making America great again is a noble and worthy aspiration we should all strive attain. After the last eight years we need this country to gain respect and to once again declare in God we put our trust. Those people may not be using the correct means to attain the goal of greatness but there is certainly nothing wrong with the statement “make America great again”. We need that morally and especially spiritually in these end times .

    1. And that means what? People wearing “Making America Great Again?”

      Yes, thank you President Trump. You think HC is moral? Do you not understand all she did to undermine America. This article was political not spiritual.

    2. This makes me sad. And sadder that you have someone in leadership at a church agreeing with you. If you think trump represents what you are hoping to “turn around” after obama….then I’m also scared.

      1. The appeal for moral leadership is not directed at any one person. This is for all leaders who have broad influence in any church, institution, or political party.

  7. I appreciate what you said about moral leadership, but you stopped short of being specific and giving an idea what we Christians can do about this racial issues that are killling the country. Many leaders in the church in my view are more interested in Republical political power than in doing God’s will:

    “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the Lord require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

    “. . .let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

    “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” I John 2:5-6, 9-11

    This president has incited a resurgence of the white supremacy movement from the beginning and sees no reason to stand against it. Many inleadership positions in Congress are so afraid of losing their power that they either compromise their moral leadership or never had any in the first place.
    The governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe spoke with conviction and I admire that!
    I want to see pastors standing up for what’s right and against what’s wrong and not tolerating the spirit of evil in any form. Regardlesss of what the politicians say and do, we are citizens of a different Kingdom and I want to act like it to bring glory to God.

    1. Yes,this simple list does stop short. The whole discussion needs to begin in earnest. I intended this post just to raise the issue. Thanks for your comment.

  8. So what do we do when so many think the “fundamentals of character and integrity” don’t really matter in choosing our most important leaders, and settle for what is deemed expedient, but will lead to our ruin in the end?

  9. 1 Samuel 16:7b –
    For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

    So the question is: Do we know what God Says? Do we believe what God says? Will we then do WHAT God says? Then moral leadership isn’t defined by man, but by the Word of God.
    Would these things be happening if we were submitting our character, our purposes, and our plans to the Will of God as revealed in His Word?

  10. John Schlevensky

    Moral? The Bible teaches us the difference between fools and wisdom. The competing ideologies of wisdom and folly is a choice between following Jesus or Satain. It is the difference between following the world and it’s defined moral standards vs Gods perfect law which is rejected and despised. Isa 53:3. True morality can only live within the redeemed. The word of God creates a new Consciousness within and represents a Holy God in us. Regardless, we all die but what happens after is the question?
    “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NASB‬‬
    Godly leadership rarely synchronizes with the world. Moral is defined by worldly knowledge like we saw Adam and Eve seek in the Garden
    “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.”
    ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬
    Elmbrook leadership should consider its position on true wisdom and much less on morals of social justice. I encurage the leadership to stand firm with King Jesus and accept the rejection of a world in moral decline rather than synchronize with it.

  11. I wish Pastor’s would address the issues of racism more directly. There is “white privilege” but many white Christians will not admit it. The idea of don’t work, don’t eat is actually believed by many Christians without thought of the fact that many minorities cannot find work because of discrimination. The church is the most segragated institution in America and we cannot blame the government for that. Most mega churches are white with all white leadership, they should search for and add black leadership. Recently a young friend told me she has no health insurance and had a urinary infection. She was told she could get help at planned Parenthood. They did help her. As she left a crazy man chased her across the parking lot calling her a baby killer and eventually slamming a crucifix into her car window. She is totally against abortion. This man knew and cared nothing about her. Too often we fault the government for the same problems the church has. (I told my friend where a free Christian clinic is). I have deleted a lot of comments Christians have posted on my Facebook because they are offensive to minority and gay friends. White Christians don’t see themselves as racist because they love people. They just don’t love them enough to want to understand their circumstances. I wish Pastor’s would address these issues strongly, put a face on it. Black Lives Matter care about black Christians more than white Christians do, and they are not a Christian organization. I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, but it seems impossible to have discussions with them about these topics. It has to start with church leadership. When we get church leadership to man up, then we can complain about the government.

  12. I agree. I wish more people would get this message. We need stronger leadership to return to the country we once were. We need to put our morals in place and stop the fighting and hate crimes. We need to bring love and discipline back in the family. Make more accountability.

    1. I am in agreement as well. The fact still remains that people are still judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. When most Caucasians speak of how bad the last eight years were, they are usually referring to the black man who spent two terms in the white house. As a Christian woman of color I did not agree with everything that was done in the previous administration. I believe that those called to lead had not had so much hatred more positive things could have been accomplished. What saddens me more than anything is that at sixty-five years old I am still seeing people that say they are Christians and believe in Jesus, yet have such hatred in their hearts to people that are not like them. This country is great because God made it great, not because of some standard set by people who are lost in their own bigotry.

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