“To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” — Henry David Thoreau
One of the things that my family has been doing for sometime now is reading a chapter of Proverbs together each morning. After cycling through the wisdom of the Proverbs several times over the years, I am continually amazed at how fresh the concepts always are. No matter how many times I read it, it seems like I am always seeing something new in the text.
One example of this was the other day when the words of Proverbs 29:12 caught my attention. The verse is simple enough, “If a ruler listens to lies then his people will become wicked”, but the implications hit me hard this time.
The idea of the verse is that we engender the kind of behavior that we approve and we attract the kind of people that we present ourselves to be. This is very important for leadership because a leader’s influence is broader than just their direct contact but includes whatever those who represent them have direct contact to as well. This influence extends as far as they have reproduced their values into those who work with them and then they likewise have repeated this, ad infinitum.
Thus when one looks at human organizations such as governments or businesses or churches and sees corruption, one can safely assume that whether that corruption was directly connected to the top leadership or not, it was spawned in an environment that cultivated it with its values and priorities.
However the application of this verse doesn’t simply end with those in positions of organizational leadership. This same principle applies to each of us as individuals. When we as employees are not committed to honoring God with our work we will become surrounded by those who are disgruntled and bitter. When we as parents are not committed to the nurture of our children, we will find that they insulate themselves from us. When we as spouses are not committed to loving our partner and become consumed with our own desires, we will find that they lose interest in us and our marriages will degenerate into apathy or anger. When we as individuals are not seekers of the Truth, we will find that everywhere we turn our relationships will be full of self-deception and manipulation (Ephesians 5-6).
The fact that these things may seem strange to us at first is really an indicator of how far gone we already are. Most of us have accepted the lies for so long we don’t even realize it any more. Most of us have been walking through life surrounded by negativity and godlessness so long that we are numb to how wicked it actually is. So the first step is to recognize what bondage looks like (Isaiah 59).
Let us repent of our willingness to accept the lies fed to us by the Enemy of our Souls, by the World systems under His control, and by our infernal ego (Ephesians 2:1-3). May we be lovers of the Truth, lovers of Wisdom, lovers of the Word of God. For only when we embrace the Truth and integrate it into our lives completely, will we begin to see clearly and experience the joy that comes from living life fully alive (John 8:31-32).