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).
- When the foolish try and speak in a dignified manner it feels artificial (Proverbs 17:7).
- Rebukes just bounce off of the foolish (Proverbs 17:10).
- The foolish love to boldly pronounce their opinions (Proverbs 18:2).
- The foolish have repeatedly been ensnared by their words in their past (Proverbs 18:7).
- The foolish are often characterized by quarreling (Proverbs 20:3).
- The foolish frequently disregard wisdom (Proverbs 23:9).
- When others stoop to engage the foolish according to their folly, they end up looking foolish themselves (Proverbs 26:4).
- The foolish have a history of repeating their folly (Proverbs 26:11).
- Those known to be wise are concerned and burdened by the words and actions of the foolish (Proverbs 27:3).
- The foolish rage or mock when arguing with others (Proverbs 29:9).
- The foolish love to give full vent to their spirit (Proverbs 29:11).
- The foolish are quick to speak (Proverbs 29:20).
- The foolish are often characterized by shouting (Ecclesiastes 9:17).
- The foolish may consider themselves religious, but their unbridled tongues show that religion to be worthless (James 1:26).
This is not an exhaustive list of foolishness, nor (obviously) is it the only list to consider when electing a leader. This is simply level one. If a potential leader does not pass the assessment of this list, we must consider them disqualified.
Examine the Fruit
What is true of false prophets is also true of foolish leaders: “You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20). So examine the fruit. It is true that all leaders, being sinners, will act foolishly on occasion. What we are looking for is consistent, characteristic fruit, not anomalies. If you find characteristic fruit of foolishness, do not be deceived by words or fear or any form of pressure. Do not elect a fool to a ruling position.
For what is true of false prophets is also true of foolish leaders: They will act wickedly. And “when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2).