“The measure marks the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.”
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill, Responding to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act signed into law by President George Bush in September of 2007.
On Saturday evening, July 7, 1974, the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, voted 27–11 to adopt articles of impeachment against President Richard M. Nixon. The charge? High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Article I, Section 8 read, “making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States …”
Two months later, on September 8th, recently sworn-in President Gerald Ford informed the people of the United States of America that he had granted a full, free and absolute pardon to Richard Nixon. The same was not to be declared for others. Many in Nixon’s administration, along with some 40 other government officials, were indicted or jailed as a consequence of his leadership. The skeptical country slowly recovered. This was not the first time an administration was found wanting for truth, nor would it be the last. King Solomon’s word’s ring true when he said, “If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked” (Proverbs 29:12).
Embracing a lie does not just mean deliberately distorting known facts in order to mislead someone. A world view and an understanding of life that is not in sync with Scripture should be just as much of a concern to us as a leader who makes false and misleading statements. The pursuit and maintenance of truth in all areas of life and service will bring health to any nation.
King Solomon struggled with truth as he grew older. God had greatly gifted him and the nation of Israel, and prosperity reigned throughout the land. But he traded it all for selfish gain, bringing great turmoil to him, his family and country. This was sadly illustrated after his death when Israel was divided, and, in time, taken in to captivity. Truth, and its defense and preservation, matters.
Jesus frequently taught on the topic of truth. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32). The way of truth can be difficult to maintain when the strong current of public opinion dictates differently. Each day will bring new challenges to anyone who determines to pursue truth. It is through the the life, death and resurrection of Christ that we learn the most critical elements of truth, as well as what offends truth.
Our leaders are just like us: human and susceptible to any and every temptation. For them to pursue and maintain truth in their personal lives demands diligence and dependency upon God. May our prayers for our leaders be in concert with the truth set forth in the book of Proverbs.
How then shall we pray for our leaders?
Our Father and Lord of truth and reconciliation, you alone represent life and light in every way. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by him. We acknowledge that the world in which we live is not kind to truth and those who pursue it. Satan, the father of lies, creates attractive environments that make it difficult for any leader to pursue and maintain truth and integrity. We pray that our elected officials and their appointees will be protected from the schemes of Satan throughout their personal and public lives. We ask that you would surround them with many who would protect them from such plots. Give them a hunger for truth in every sphere of life and work. May those who serve them have an unusually high degree of moral integrity. Help them to desire and pursue healthy and open leadership. We ask that if and when truth has been compromised, your Spirit would provide the needed correction and repentance by your mercy and grace.
We also pray for their families. May they have a great love and respect for the truth. Give them not only a concern for facts, but an accurate understanding of the world and a healthy view of life. May they experience your love and kindness. We ask all of these things for the sake and health of the cities, states and nation into which you have called us, and for your glory. In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.