A recent newspaper article said the American government is considering leaving a large number of troops in Iraq despite promises made for a complete pullout by the end of 2011.
I understand the war in Iraq is wearisome. We’ve been there a long time and have lost over 4500 service personnel. I want them to come home, too. I wasn’t bothered by the promise of leaving Iraq, and I’m not overly troubled that troops will remain.
What bothers me is that our leaders are not leading. They are “tickling our ears” telling us what we want to hear. We all want our troops to come home. But we also want a stabilized planet to call home. Our continent is not isolated. Areas that are destabilized far from home will eventually affect my front yard.
It is poor leadership when I’m told what I want to hear in order to get my support, only to be explained away later when the promise must be adjusted.
The problem is that this is a much easier style of leadership. It’s easier to tickle the ears than convince me from the beginning that what I want right now doesn’t produce what I want later for my grandchildren.
The Bible warns us against this kind of leadership in 2 Timothy 4:3 — “Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (NIV).”
We need great leaders who understand how to inspire and mobilize rather than scratch and sniff.
I want to be the kind of leader that inspires the soul before scratching the ear–the one who calls out the greatness in others instead of simply calling them great.
Idealistic? Perhaps. But ideas are the bedrock on which tangible reality rests.