Tag Archives: character

Can Kickers, or the Hezekiah Syndrome: Selling out Future Generations

27459680_10156150146009214_7268989353369031812_nIt’s commonly referred to as “kicking the can down the road.” This is when a leader refuses to deal with an issue that will have negative ramifications – later. The idea is, as long as I am gone when everything hits the fan, I’m good with that.

One of the most notorious cases of “can kicking” happened a few thousand years ago. The Bible tells the story of King Hezekiah who foolishly showed off all of the national treasures to visitors from a distant land. Isaiah (who was a prophet) addressed the trouble that would come as a result of Hezekiah’s mistake:

Then Isaiah spoke to Hezekiah, “Listen to what God has to say about this: The day is coming when everything you own and everything your ancestors have passed down to you, right down to the last cup and saucer, will be cleaned out of here—plundered and packed off to Babylon. God’s word! Worse yet, your sons, the progeny of sons you’ve begotten, will end up as eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”19 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “If God says it, it must be good.” But he was thinking to himself, “It won’t happen during my lifetime—I’ll enjoy peace and security as long as I live.” (II Kings 20:16-19 MSG)

This is a little shocking. How, in good conscience can a king show such disregard for his family and descendants?

Take another look: Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “If God says it, it must be good.” But he was thinking to himself, “It won’t happen during my lifetime—I’ll enjoy peace and security as long as I live.” In other words, I really don’t care about what happens to people in the future – I’m OK.

Prototypical “kicking the can down the road!”

In a nutshell, here is the root of the Hezekiah syndrome:

Selfishness: when leaders care more about their wellbeing than that of those they lead, the phenomenon occurs.

Shortsightedness: when leaders can’t anticipate the long-term results of their decisions, those in the future may suffer.

When leaders don’t care about those who will come behind them, careless and even cruel decisions can be made.

When leaders are too weak to make decisions that are good for their progeny, the Hezekiah syndrome will reveal itself.

And this last “root” is worth focusing upon.

It is possible that leaders in 2018 may make decisions (or refuse to make decisions) that will hurt their children, grandchildren and many generations to come. If I am hurting the future by ignoring an issue today, shame on me.

If you are a leader and you observe a problem that may hurt others down the road, and if you have the capacity to address that problem, it would be a dereliction of duty to let it go. True, the results may not come about on your watch but it is immoral to be able to prevent future pain and not do so.

Leaders, our children need us to be strong. Our grandkids are counting on us having a backbone. If we see a problem that is fixable, fix it!

Now, apply the principles of the Hezekiah syndrome to your family, your business, your church, your community, your country… Your descendants will thank you!

Advertisements

Stretching the Truth for the Sake of the Ministry

Stretching the truth

Stretching the truth

We’ve all done it:

We exaggerate numbers.

We fudge on details.

We knowingly mislead people for personal gain.

We say things we don’t mean.

Maybe worse than all of this, preachers sometimes stretch the truth for the sake of making a point while preaching. Not only is this accepted as normal, many times this kind of behavior is rewarded. Some of the most beloved preachers are full of baloney! It is considered as charisma!

Most people may think this type of behavior is harmless, especially since everyone seems to do it. My question for Christian leaders is, why? Why do we feel it necessary to stretch the truth for the sake of the ministry?

Maybe…

We want to appear better than we are. We feel insecure about our performance.  We are in competition with someone else and we need the upper hand.  There are short-term advantages to stretching the truth.

Our job may be in jeopardy. People respond to sensationalism. And a myriad of other reasons.

There are some important facts about stretching the truth that we should realize:

  1. God knows the truth and expects it out of you.
  2. People can spot a phony a mile away. They may appear that they are OK with it, but they will ultimately not trust you. People hate to be deceived.
  3. Your conscience will and should bother you when you lie.
  4. The blessings of God will be limited if you insist on deception.
  5. You reap what you sow. Deceivers will be deceived by others.

God makes it clear. Integrity is not optional. Ephesians 4:25 says, “So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” (NLT) It can’t get any clearer – we are supposed to tell the truth.

Christians, let’s do better. Our integrity is a stake. We must be authentic. People can see through our deception. And worse, God knows when we are being dishonest.

If we commit to be honest in our dealings with other people, God will bless our work for Him and we will be able to measure the long-term positive results. We are doing His work, after all.


Lessons from Lance Armstrong

As a cyclist, I am sickened by the demise of Lance Armstrong. His fall from grace in the biking world is being felt by everyone, not only cycling enthusiasts. This is probably a combination of things: his dominance in the sport; his household-name status; the millions he raised to fight cancer through his Livestrong Foundation.

While I am sad to see all of his failure, I think it would be wise for us to learn lessons from his life.

Lesson like:

Cheaters don’t win. Really, they don’t.

Short-term gain equals long-term pain.

Some things are more valuable than winning. Self-respect and integrity are invaluable.

Yellow jerseys won by cheating are an embarrassment.

“Be sure that your sins will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

I have compassion on Mr. Armstrong. While I think he will never redeem his reputation, he can regain his self-respect. I pray that happens.

I am convinced that most, if not all, of Armstrong’s competitors were also doping. There were so many who were busted in that era. Makes me wonder if he would have been as dominant, if none of them had cheated. Somehow, I think probably so. Now no one knows or cares. Rather sad, isn’t it? Let it never be said of us that we are such moral failures, that no one cares.

Living strong is more than words.


don’t forget the most important stuff

A few weeks ago, we were headed to a conference for the purpose of giving exposure to our missions work. When we arrived at the airport, we realized we had left all of our presentation materials back at home. I had to go back home to get them, and I ended up flying standby. Otherwise, we would have been without the most important stuff – the very reason for our trip.
Warren Bennis, leadership guru says, “I’ve never seen anyone derailed from top leadership because of a lack of business literacy or conceptual skills: it’s always because of lapses of judgment and questions about character. Always.
It seems to me that there is a sufficient amount of emphasis on skills development and strategy engagement among leaders. Bennis is right – know-how is not the problem when someone fails.  The problem almost always is, leaders lose their bearings.  They have a moral lapse. They fail and fall.
I see four key reasons why leaders are prone to omit issues of character and integrity:
·      Forgetting what brought success. Honesty and integrity are not very glamorous foundations, but must be maintained in order to prevent moral failure.
·      Corruption from outside sources. Unscrupulous characters will be attracted to success. Know who they are and avoid them!
·      Arrogance of success. Pride is the greatest enemy of leaders. Stay humble; stay on track.
·      Too busy to pay attention to details. Never become so preoccupied with leading that you forget to focus on small, important, moment-by-moment decisions.
Leaders (and followers) don’t forget the most important thing – your character.