How to Recognize a Foolish Leader

No matter who is elected President of the United States in November, he or she will be a sinner. He or she will be fallible and will, like all presidents, make some serious mistakes. We will not elect a messiah-in-chief.

But nonetheless, the right kind of leader, under the wise governing checks and balances constructed in the American constitution, will help guide our nation through the very precarious days that lie ahead of us.

We Face Precarious Days

And the days will be precarious. The economic, social, and military policy decisions that must be made, in both the domestic and foreign arenas, are enormous, delicate, and urgent.

The U.S. national debt as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product has risen to unprecedented and increasingly alarming levels. The trend is unsustainable and the potential outcome could be disastrous. The recent shifts in our national moral landscape have been seismic, resulting in a tenuous cultural atmosphere of uncertainty and fear. And the global balance of power is in flux as economic and therefore military capacities transform. Meanwhile, very volatile regions are glowing dangerously hot with complex political and religious turmoil. Even misspoken words can detonate an explosively bloody response.

These immense challenges require an American executive with a cool head, an educated mind, a justly principled backbone, a discerning eye, a listening ear, a steady hand, and a controlled tongue. The futures of millions of people will hang in the balance in policies that our next president will advocate or obstruct. And when that President speaks, quite literally death and life will at times be in the power of his or her tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

We Urgently Need a Wise Leader

Therefore, as a nation it is urgent that we seek to elect as wise, honest, humble, experienced, capable, decisive, and resolute a leader as is available to us. And we would be wise to elect a leader, if possible, who truly fears God, since he or she must have an internal moral resistance to the powerful temptations to evil that will come with wielding great power.

If we do not, if we elect a foolish leader, the costs will be very high — higher than most of us yet understand. “We the people” will groan (Proverbs 29:2).

And we won’t groan alone. The peoples of other nations, and likely the most vulnerable in those nations, will groan under the effects of foolish American leadership. And the next generations of Americans will groan. Our children and grandchildren will live with the fallout of words spoken and actions taken in the next few years.

Marks of a Foolish Leader

We know that no matter whom we elect, he or she will not be the ideal leader. However, it is of urgent importance that we avoid electing a foolish leader like the plague. We as a people have the historically recent and remarkable privilege of electing our head of state. If we as a people choose unwisely, it will be on our own heads.

How do we know if a potential leader is foolish? The principle is in this statement that Jesus made: “Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 7:17). We must examine the fruit. And the Bible is quite clear on what the diseased fruit of foolishness looks like:

  • The foolish look with haughty eyes (Proverbs 6:17).
  • The foolish engage in slander (Proverbs 10:18).
  • The foolish joke about their wrongdoing (Proverbs 10:23).
  • The foolish make great boasts (Psalm 12:3).
  • The foolish are stubbornly right in their own eyes (Proverbs 12:15).
  • The foolish are quickly annoyed by insults (Proverbs 12:16).
  • The foolish lash out in rash words like sword thrusts (Proverbs 12:18).
  • The foolish express no shame over their folly (Proverbs 13:16).
  • The foolish speak and act with recklessness and carelessness (Proverbs 14:16).
  • The foolish spew folly from their mouths (Proverbs 15:2).
  • The foolish despise instruction and reproofs from those who are wiser (Proverbs 15:5).


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Source: How to Recognize a Foolish Leader | Desiring God