Biblical Abraham was known for his faith, fidelity, leadership, and is respected as “father” of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. He exhibited that rare true quality of leadership: humility.
Three examples of Abraham’s humility:
1) He generously let his contentious, unscrupulous brother, Lot, who, was focused only on personal gain, have his choice of land for his wealth of cattle. Abram, not yet renamed Abraham, said: “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee . . . if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand; then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13: 8, 9).
2) When the Lord planned to destroy the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorah, Abraham begged Him to first save any righteous citizens therein (though none were found).
3) Devotedly faithful to God, who made covenant with him to become the “father of many nations,” Abraham obediently prepared to sacrifice his son, Isaac, as God directed: “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest . . . and offer him . . . for a burnt offering.” Abraham piled the wood, tied his son upon it, and drew his knife. Then the Lord said: “Lay not thine hand upon the lad…for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (Genesis 22: 2, 12). Who among us could pass such a test?
As Abraham put aside personal desires for the good of others and for obedience to God, so, in her own way, did Queen Elizabeth II. Her death last week saddened Britain and beyond. Grace and humility were basic to her manor of leadership. For 70 years she put her country above her self-interests. Unwaveringly strong through wars, economic challenges, and personal hardships, she led and inspired her people, doing what was best for her nation. As one of her biographers wrote: “The Queen would never think of doing things ‘her way’ like younger royals because she is ‘humble’.” A statement made by the Queen shows her undaunting spirit that bloomed from her humility: “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” A member of the clergy who knew the Queen well once said that “Her Christian Faith is the scaffolding of her life.”
Both the Queen and Abraham were bold in living their principles, in their adherence to honesty, their understanding of duty, their faithfulness to something bigger than themselves. That “something” was God and country. Self was never their focus. They knew their purpose was to serve others.
The humility so obvious in leaders Abraham and Elizabeth is entirely missing in Congress’s Big Lie Believers. Not one whit of unselfishness appears to reside in them. Selfish motives for power, wealth, and personal political success guide them. To lie has become their norm. To tout conspiracy theories, to justify radical actions against our democracy such as the insurrection of January 6, 2021, to reverse principles once claimed reveals a deplorable weakness of character. Kinzinger and Cheney appear to be the only members of the GOP with any unselfish motives. Their willingness to be honest, to risk their own careers to protect and serve the nation, is what we need more of.
Where is our Queen Elizabeth? Our Abraham?
Artwork: Facing the Ghastly Farce, oil with Mixed Media, 24″ x 24″ $975. To face what is difficult, absurd, or improbable takes courage. This is what this painting attempts to show.