Honesty, Hypocrisy and Politics in Leadership

We live in a culture that teaches us to be hypocrites.  To the question, "how are you" to "how's your week been" we give clichéd answers.  "I'm fine thanks."  "Its been busy."  "You know, same old routine."  We play the game.  How things really are we keep hidden.  Often so hidden that we ourselves really do not honestly confront how we are doing.

As a bystander to the political spin, claim and counter claim being received in our letterbox almost every day, it is little wonder people are loosing faith in the honesty of public officials and business propaganda. The Prime Minister says that she is going to throw away the staged election protocol book and that from now on we'll get the real person! Who did we get before?

According to one newspaper "Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel warned the microscope was on businesses making dubious environmental claims or offering phony discounts…The caution comes after major retailers State Solar Services and Queensland Solar claimed consumers could eliminate household electricity bills by installing a 1.5kw solar panel system."

Then recently the government promised $20 million for a feasibility study that will determine the route for a high-speed rail link between Sydney and Newcastle in the State of New South Wales NSW), Australia. This promise will sound awfully familiar to NSW voters: A high-speed rail link between Sydney and Newcastle was promised 12 years ago by the former premier  to have been delivered “in stages” from 2007 but, like most promises, it never materialised. [based on Herald Sun report].

The sad thing is that spiritual leaders can and do behave in equally dishonest ways. Jesus' biggest criticism was directed to individuals who were masters of hypocrisy. They were so masterful that they were blinded to their own real condition. They loved to take titles that set them apart and above others.

The stinging rebuke of Jesus in Matthew 23:1-36 makes sober reading. Here is an extract of what Jesus said to them:  “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant . . .

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."

Let's avoid mimicking the masters of political and religious hypocrisy.

Dr Keith Graham

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