Once we lay the consequences of character and moral fiber in our lives, we will immediately be confronted with what many find to be life’s greatest test—the test of compliance. How will we respond and act in response to the many authorities that society places over us, especially in situations where we do not want to comply? Will we reject the influencers in our lives? Or will we stand the test of time, faithfully serving those who are key links to our future success?
We cannot close the eyes to this subject, for until we set this foundational cornerstone determinedly in place, everything else we try to build will be vulnerable and susceptible to collapse and failure. The moment we start getting somewhere—just about the time when promotion arrives—disrespect for authorities will knock down what we have worked so hard to build, taking us back to the beginning of our journey.
In the sports ground and showground of developing character, the issue of relating to influencers is perhaps the most difficult and intricate to comprehend and apply in our experience. This is especially true in our modern-day society.
Many individuals, both the young and adults alike, have gotten sucked into a self-centered, rebellious mindset. They assume they can violate proven codes of ethics, yet escape the consequences of their selfish actions. But true character refuses to rob its future in order to enjoy its present.
Here is what many people fail to understand. Everything in the realm of sowing and reaping takes time—and a lot of it. There is a prolonged season of sowing and reaping, and there is a prolonged season of reaping the harvest. However, because there is a prolonged harvest, a person often will not notice the cause-and-effect connection between the seed he sowed years ago and the negative consequences he is currently reaping. He does not realize he is experiencing a harvest from his own past seeds of character violations. The reaping has been so long in coming that he does not put the two together.
The Universal Law of Sowing and Reaping cannot be ignored, disregarded, dodged, or by-passed. This law says we will reap what we sow; and whether it is sooner or later makes little difference. When it comes to compliance to authority, the trump card often used by willful and headstrong people is the word “control.” When they do not want to do what delegated authority has suggested that they do, they lash out with the accusation, “You are just trying to control me.” But a person of character recognizes compliance as an instrument for good in life, rather than an instrument of control.
When a person in a leadership position asks someone in a lower and lesser position to do something and that request is rooted in moral principle, is that leader controlling the other person? No, for his desire is to be an influencer—to lead that person to do right and receive the rewards of doing right. The leader is only operating in his delegated position as an instrument in helping that person become all that he can be.
Rulers and authorities are not a threat to those who do what is right. The only people who are panic-stricken or fearful of authority are those who do things they know are wrong. On the condition that we want to be free from the fear of authority are those who do things they know are wrong. If we want to be free from the fear of authority, we simply need to do what is right, with a good attitude; then, our leadership will speak well of us.
Leaders have been placed in their positions of authority for our benefit. They are there to compensate the people who do right; but if we choose to be rebellious and noncompliant, we should be concerned, for they have been given full authority to deal with our recalcitrance.
These principles of compliance apply to every area of life—our work—places, our marriages, our children, and our citizenship. Why are there so many breakdowns in relationships? It is because people rebel against the structures of safety that have been instituted.
Civil authority is beneficial to society, because order is the only way a society can thrive. Order is essential to all of life. For example, cells in the human body that reproduce incorrectly are called cancerous. They have gotten out of order and, therefore, must be removed to save the individual’s life. Authority is assigned to bring that essential order to our lives. Its desire is not to take away our freedom but to help us avoid mistakes and harm. Are all people in authority good? No. certainly not, but that is not the issue. I am referring to us. What is our responsibility? That is the real issue.
We have been given a posture, or an attitude to assume, in every relationship in life. That posture is our link to favor. Therefore, when entering a new relationship, we have to understand who we are, within that particular relationship, and how to relate. Then we must posture ourselves in the relationship, according to the responsibility that we have been given.
Character discovers its assignment in every relationship and then postures itself accordingly. For instance, a corporate executive cannot act with the same authority before his company president that he does when he stands before his own office staff. He must assume two different postures, because these are two different types of relationships. He goes before his staff making statements; but he walks before his president asking questions. Why? Not because the president has greater inherent value, as a person, but simply because he governs the executive’s position, as his delegated authority. We are to be subject to our respective bosses. That word “subject” means we are to bow our own desires to theirs. Sound impossible? This concept will become clearer, as we explore further…
Till I come your way again next Monday, see you where rock-solid leaders are found!