Does a leader have to live a moral life to be a good leader?
One prominent Wall Street Journal writer says, “Everybody knows the culture is poisonous, and nobody expects that to change.” Is this, in part, due to our current leaders in government, in churches, in communities and in families?
We have examples of leaders making moral and immoral choices from the past and present, and can see the effects on the people they lead. The very definition of a leader is one that helps guide, influence, and induce people to action, whether good or bad. Leaders tend to base their decisions on their core values and virtues. This happens in all facets of their lives. They do not tend to have one set of core values for personal life and a separate set of core values for their public life. Obviously, we want someone who has the ability to make good decisions regardless of the situation. It applies to moral conduct as well as strategic and fiscal conduct. The scriptures tell us that this is especially important in our time period. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 tells us that perilous times are ahead, and that the moral conduct of the world will deteriorate at an alarming rate.
Matthew 24:6 states that we can’t be moral, and yet immoral, at the same time. One of these attributes will ultimately dominate the other.
A scripture example of immorality affecting a leader’s constituents is King Solomon. He was such a righteous leader that he was granted great wisdom, and thus riches, from the Lord due to his charity and pure heart. Slowly, he let his pride, his love of women and money, and his lack of faith in the Lord affect his leadership and was basically fired.
In today’s world, we see similar examples of moral misconduct that affect not only the immediate parties involved, but can extend to our entire nation. Look at the scandal going on with General Petraus. This immoral personal decision had far-reaching consequences and ultimately compromised the integrity and safety of our country.
On the other hand, there are leaders who have shown personal morality that was further proven by their political actions. In Genesis 39 we read about Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph exemplified having righteous core values. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. She promised that there was no one around to spread word, but regardless Joseph denied her and fled from temptation. He was later blessed in all facets of his life because of his moral decision-making.
Does the choice in leaders today come from a generation that has rejected the past standards of choosing leaders that will push them to their full potential, a generation that does not hold leaders to certain standards? It is clearly stated in Mosiah 26:1-6 how such a generation works. We, the rising generation, have the ability to make new decisions, to look for those who can lead us forward righteously. We can raise our standards back up, and become what we wish to see in those who help guide us.
What do you think are some examples from current events in which it was important, or not important, for the leader to be moral?