Where I work, interviews for jobs consist of asking behavioral type questions of candidates. One’s resume is important, but the theory goes that your past behavior will predict your future behavior should you get hired for the job. The type of person you are is considered one of the most important factors in hiring.
Hire someone who has had to successfully deal with difficult situations, situations that might even involve personal and professional embarrassment, and you’ll probably hire someone who can do the job well. If someone lacks those experiences and can’t speak to those situations, then hiring them simply because they have a nice resume and say all the right buzzwords really opens you to the risk you might be hiring the wrong person for the job.
Or, in other words, character matters.
Ethically Flawed Leaders
For many though, the idea that character matters is becoming increasingly antiquated. It’s almost considered heresy. More and more, people are simply looking to see if you are successful and get the job done, regardless of your character. The resume is becoming more important than person behind it.
We see this happening in all sorts of arenas: Politics, business, and even in the church.
President Donald Trump was elected by a large number of Evangelical Christians that gave preference to his business resume and policy promises over his deep moral flaws. His regular lies, crude manner of speech, bullying behavior, serial adultery, and the fact that he owned and operated casinos and other immoral businesses simply did not matter. All that mattered was that he claimed to be on the side of Evangelical Christians and the issues they cared about.
Elizabeth Holmes founded and bankrupted Theranos, a medical technology company that quickly became worth $9 billion dollars, and then quickly became worthless. The company was built on the claim that they had invented a revolutionary technology capable of doing in depth blood analysis from a small drop of blood. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to verify this claim. And, after further investigation by the Wall Street Journal, this turned out to be a total lie, one that many people profited from.
Gospel For Asia, a large missionary organization dedicated to establishing missionaries and planting churches in Asia, recently paid out a massive settlement of $37 million dollars to former donors. This happened after some watchdog groups blew the whistle on their accounting practices and alleged misappropriation of funds. And all of this happened on the watch of an independent auditing group by the name of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, which fell asleep at the wheel. The ECFA only decided to revoke their financial certification of GFA after the scandal became public knowledge. Oops!
Sire A Fool, Become A Fool
Proverbs 17:21 says “He who sires a fool does so to his own sorrow.” (NASB) Such is a very simple lesson. If you prefer someone slick over someone with character, you are only setting yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy full of grief and failure. All that you claim to be working for will be at risk of collapse and ruin.
While nobody is perfect and we all have our own shortcomings, we should still make it a point to appoint individuals to leadership positions that not only show competence for the task, but the character necessary to carry out the job they’ve been assigned.
Of course, as the saying goes, “We elect politicians not popes to be president.” While this is true, we should still avoid appointing men and women to leadership positions whose history of shortcomings would underscore their ability to do their job effectively and with integrity, as it could ultimately undermine the actual performance of their job.
A person known for taking bribes should not become a judge. Someone who has a drug problem shouldn’t manage your local CVS. A man who cannot be faithful to his wife shouldn’t be in charge of a nation. Individuals who enjoy living an opulent lifestyle shouldn’t pastor a church. And the list could go on and on.
If what we are working and laboring for matters, then the people who lead what we are so heavily invested in should be people with some gravitas about their lives. They should be people know for their integrity and character.
We should only “sire” ethically minded individuals that we can rely on, whose integrity we never have to second guess. Who we appoint should be the obvious choice, and if we ever have to question their integrity, then we should always look for the next candidate.
If a potential leader doesn’t pass the smell test, you should never put them in charge of anything. Never vote for the candidate you have to hold your nose for while voting. Siring a fool is a dangerous thing. And if you do appoint them to a position of leadership, you’ll only end up being a fool with them.