Suharto, the 2nd President of Indonesia, whom some people referred to as The Smiling General is a well-known figure in our country, holding the office for 31 years from the ousting of Sukarno in 1967 until his resignation in 1998. He is a controversial figure beginning from when he took power from Sukarno from 1967 till his death in 2008. Suharto managed to construct a strong, centralised and military-dominated government which enable him to maintain stability in diverse Indonesia. His anti-communist stance also won him the economic and diplomatic support from the West during the Cold War. For most of his presidency, Indonesia experienced significant economic growth and industrialisation, dramatically improving health, education and living standards.
In the downside, Suharto had encountered many human right issues. Indonesia’s invasion and
occupation of East Timor during Suharto’s presidency resulted in at least 100,000 deaths. By the 1990s, the New Order’s authoritarianism and widespread corruption were a source of discontent. According to Transparency International, Suharto is the most corrupt leader in modern history, having embezzled an alleged $15–35 billion during his rule
It is easy for us to point fingers at Suharto or other corrupt leaders that we know of. However as Lord Acton has stated, “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Have we been in their positions, will we do better?
The same situation happens in Israel during Amos period. The angry prophet, the label people sometime put on Amos, condemn Israelite leaders who fail to provide justice for their people. Those leaders put their own welfare beyond their people: abandoned morality, confused values, corrupted, took bribes, taxed the poor, deprived people of social justice in court, etc. The sad part is that these leaders weren’t even aware for their corruption, which is why Amos warned them in Amos 5:18 that when the day of the Lord come, it will be a dreadful day of judgement, not a joyful celebration.
Let us not become a judge for others, but instead analyse our own situation lest we become a stumbling block. When we are given a position of leadership or influence, do we use it for our own merit or do we aim for the merit of the team? Have we always try avoid responsibility and blame others or situation for failure? Do we held ourselves accountable to higher leader(s)?
Do remember at the end of the days, what matters is not how much wealth have we accomplished or how successful is our career, business, even ministry compared to others. What really matters is have we achieve God’s purpose in our lives? Have we been responsible to whatever God has entrusted in our lives which include our family, vocation and organization that we are leading? Let’s hope when one day we reach heaven, God greet us by saying: Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ who deserves all the honour and worship.