Saturday, May 12, 2018
Does personal morality matter in a person in a leadership position?
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:11-18
I believe James the brother of Christ shares with us an inspired truth that we often rationalize away. I believe it is an insight into all humanity but especially in the life of the Christian soul. Fresh water flows from a fresh water spring; but salt water cannot. A corollary which may be more accurate to the original metaphor would be … pure water flows from a pure water spring, but from a poisoned well, it does not.
In a culture of shepherds as was the origin of the Hebrews, wells were precious. But not all wells had fresh water for the shepherds and the sheep. And the shepherd had to be attentive to where the sheep were watered. Brackish, salty, poisoned, bad water wells appeared to be the salvation that quenched a desperate thirst … but, in the end, the sheep were poisoned.
This is why I so deeply believe that personal character, the ethics, the morals, the attitudes, the vices and virtues matters in a leader, even in a secular leader. Because pure water cannot pour forth from an otherwise poisoned well. And to delude oneself by rationalization or excuse-making or denying the reality of the person … is to drink a slow-acting poison. I sincerely and deeply believe this to be the truth. I believe James was spot on when it comes to human nature. A pure water well will pour forth pure water, but a salted well, only salt water not matter how pure the salt water might appear.
In His Service always,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz