Social Contract and Leadership

I often wonder why people can be so mean and unethical. 

At church, at work and in society I believe most people are decent and good. But sometimes even good people would do something very bad and even evil. 

At church, I would sometimes wonder, “Don’t we believe in the same thing? The same God? I thought we all go by these rules.” 

For me, I am more responsive, usually I am like, “What the heck?” I would sit on it and think about it, think about why it bothers me and then when it goes to far, react. Sometimes I just react on instinct which I found out is not the best way but at the same time, a reaction or a response to something bad and wrong is very essential t a healthy community. 

But we have to be wise on how to respond in a respectful way, even when the other party doesn’t. 

I realize that a community break down when the dialogue is dead, prevented, banned or etc. And looking back, this experience of banning dialogue has made me a person who became very sensitive and hateful to whoever who disrespect others and would shut other people’s voices out. 

I truly believe good communication and dialogue is essential, but not everybody go by that. 

I think people get defensive, frightened and aggressive when a social contract is breached, violated. That’s when all hell break loose. All hell break loose because the understanding between people, the rules, the social contract, decency are broken and disrespected. It becomes a war. 

However, what I think is, sometimes we don’t know it when we broke those rules. It’s silly to think that way, but sometimes we don’t know and did it “accidentally”. Of course, there are also people who do intentionally hurt others. 

The issue and the problem is always, “What should a good person” or a godly person do? We can’t respond with evil. We can’t counter gossip with gossip, slander with slander. We are pretty limited. Often time we have to rely on the decency, strength of character, fairness, moral strength and courage of our leaders. But what if the leadership isn’t so? 

I have been reading 2 Samuel as part of my goal of finishing reading the OT this year and a passage gave me reflection on this topic.

David, for a good period of time, was a good king but I question if he was a good father. 

20 Her brother Absalom saw her and asked, “Is it true that Amnon has been with you? Well, my sister, keep quiet for now, since he’s your brother. Don’t you worry about it.” So Tamar lived as a desolate woman in her brother Absalom’s house.

2 Samuel 13:21-22, 26-27

21 When King David heard what had happened, he was very angry.22 And though Absalom never spoke to Amnon about this, he hated Amnon deeply because of what he had done to his sister.

 

26 “Well, then,” Absalom said, “if you can’t come, how about sending my brother Amnon with us?”

“Why Amnon?” the king asked. 27 But Absalom kept on pressing the king until he finally agreed to let all his sons attend, including Amnon. So Absalom prepared a feast fit for a king.

King David, displayed poor leadership here. He should’ve disciplined and punished Amnon and showed justice to Tamar. But he didn’t. In fact, it seemed that Amnon got away with murdering her sister’s livelihood and destroyed her life. And it seems to me that David was not aware of how the adultery affected his family. Amnon went about as usual. This led of David’s son Absalom who eventually had to took it upon himself to do her sister justice on Amnon. This eventually led to a civil war between David and Absalom, who was one of the favourite sons of David. 

So that’s what happened. When there was no justice, fairness and courage from the leadership, some people took it upon themselves but was that the best or good way to do?

Social contract was obviously broken by Amnon. Nothing was done about it and all hell broke loose, one thing led to another. And it ended with a lot of people dead. 

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