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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A King’s influence

The influence of a king can be great; it can build up the people who are ruled or tear down and dishearten the ruled. Through the years many forms of government have existed, from absolute monarchy to a republic or democracy. In one way or another people who are ruled or governed are affected positively, neutrally or adversely. In the American society most people who have lived their lives under the democracy that allows for voting and the expression of various freedoms generally believe it to be the better form of government.

America’s early history began with the desire to worship without restriction and with the “state” not in control of how one worshiped. Through the years of early foundations the people of America developed the desire to form a government that allowed for checks and balances that placed the will of the people above the rulers. The revolutionary war was fought in part to break free from the tyranny that was imposed from a foreign monarch. With America’s Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution that balance of power was vested in “We the People” through an Executive, Judicial and Legislative sharing of power based on the laws established by the founding fathers.

In the United States of America the President, the Supreme Court and the Congress are separate and independent of each other as a law is formed, developed, signed, implemented and then verified as Constitutional by the Judicial Branch of government. Laws are tested by the people and sometimes repealed as needed by following the founder’s established blueprint embedded in the Constitution. Through the years, however, governments can and do change.

The Bible says in Proverbs 29 that “If a ruler listens to lies, all his ministers will be wicked." (Proverbs 29:12)

It is true that those whom a person chooses to surround him to receive advice will be influenced in ways that he may not have thought of. It is likely that in this advice from the Bible that the writer, Solomon, observed that a ruler over the people chooses council to provide suggestions about what to do. When the ruler pays attention and gives heed to the advice of those who lie, he is sending a message to those who are providing such false advice. That message is permission to continue to provide lies in their advice since the ruler is listening to and heeding that advice. The cycle of misinformation grows until the actions of the ruler cannot be understood by the people under his rule. Ultimately, his closest advisors may have to turn to evil practices to gain his favor if he is continually swayed by such lies.

In verse four of that same chapter in Proverbs, Solomon writes, “A king brings stability to a land by justice, but one who exacts tribute tears it down." (Proverbs 29:4)

It is interesting to note that the ruler’s influence has a dramatic effect on the people who are under his rule. He actually makes the nation strong by the influence of his own character and strength. His justice by his actions builds the national image and the people follow his lead and afford him honor and respect. He is looked up to and admired for his strength, security and stability.

However, as he begins to look upon himself as the provider of that strength he begins to draw tribute to himself and thereby weakens the will and resolve of the people under his rule. By ”extracting” higher and higher taxes and “tribute” for himself, he tears down the will of the people and destroys their motivation to continue to work. Ultimately the ruler breaks the backs of the people by demanding heavy taxes and placing them in unimaginable debt. The final outcome under that kind of rule is division and strife that often leads to a revolt against the ruler and his advisors.

Finally, Solomon says in his writings, “If a king judges the poor in truth, his throne will be established forever." (Proverbs 29:14)

The ruler has a responsibility to judge in fairness and with equity. He must dispense the laws not just as prescribed by the government, but in the way that God has intended for them to be carried out. The ruler should rule even handily and not provide a miscarriage of justice toward any group of people simply because they are members of a certain class or subdivision of people in the society.

The word “throne” in this Proverb likely means that it is established for an extended period; based on the consistent practice of morality in rule. It may be a timeless promise that represents the lasting rule of right based on the ruler being fair and just in his administration of justice in the land. The qualification of the enduring administration is its moral character. The language of this proverb reflects the promise of the Covenant established by God with His servant David, Solomon’s Father. Directly related to the rulers of Israel, it could be a principle of rule that would apply to all morally, established governments.

One sees a strong relationship with the tenants of this Proverb to the form of government rule written by men like Thomas Jefferson and other founding Fathers the rule they established for America. One can merely read the United States’ Constitution to catch a glimpse of that moral, ethical character of government rule.

Thomas Jefferson knew this because he lived in a time of being under bondage from the British government that imposed the yoke of tyranny upon those under rule. He actually lived the "consequences" of those actions. That is why he and many other patriots of that time were motivated to change the conditions under which they lived. They longed for freedom from the tyranny that the king imposed. It would appear that Mr. Jefferson was well aware of the Scriptures and understood the consequences of subjecting the public to massive and unjust taxes that extended into generations hence.

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