16 Aug Before Casting Judgment
Elections are judgmental, really. In casting ballots, we are casting judgment. Candidates also judge one another, and many are not shy about telling the world their findings.
The Bible, along with its messages of eternal salvation and hope, also provides the moral teachings of a young fellow who by America’s constitutional age minimums would not be eligible to run for President of the United States. Jesus Christ, then in his early thirties, taught a lot about judging others. “Judge not, that you not be judged,” was one of the bits of wisdom Jesus offered in his famous sermon preached from an elevated piece of ground for all to hear.
Okay, so now we have a problem: Jesus says not to judge, yet we all are called to make judgments when voting, and surely Jesus would want everyone to vote, would he not?
Jesus had a solution for that conundrum.
Getting the Speck Out
Immediately after beseeching his listeners not to judge, Jesus laid out his further thoughts in the form of some questions, as he often did: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?”
He was not finished, and he closed with what would make a good political tweet today. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,” Jesus summed up, “and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5, emphasis added.)
That’s the answer! It is fine to evaluate or even judge others in certain contexts—to help them get the “speck” out—but one must first work on his or her own, bigger faults before worrying about those of someone else.
Believing in the Bible and Jesus, your humble blogger is going to spend some time these next two months to “look in the mirror” for logs in his own eyes before passing any judgment on the defects in candidates come November.
Specifically, since Principle Based Politics focuses so heavily on the use of principles in the political world, I am going to examine these principles and how I apply them in life. I also will scrutinize how I honor these declared principles related to leadership and government, including how those principles should control political decisions and actions. In short, the goal is to free up and remove any “logs” that may be blurring my political vision.
This will be a time of introspection—a personal retreat of sorts. I will let you know in a couple of months whether I recommend this approach for others.
In the Meantime
While I am pondering internally, the posts here will reiterate the seven leadership principles we have espoused since this blog launched in March 2021. We will start next week with our overview of how the most helpful principles can be identified and then used in politics, followed by separate essays reviewing each leadership principle.
Written by Quentin R. Wittrock, founder of Principle Based Politics.
Look for his posts each week, as this blog will explore and promote the idea of principle in politics, both as to individual elected leaders and our federal government as an institution.