Many believe that we live in a kakistocracy today. The word means government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state. Viewing it from a purely non-political perspective, the societal slide we are presently experiencing would seem to bear out that belief. The concept is not a new one, nor are its effects.
Solomon wrote, “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!” (Ecclesiastes 10:16). A child king is referenced here, but it can apply to anyone who occupies a position of authority over others. The child could be a very young person, or it could refer to anyone of any age who is a child in understanding, judgment, manners, or conduct. It refers to those who are fickle in nature, self-willed, unskillful in leadership, or unreceptive to the sound advice of others. Solomon said, “Woe to you,” when you are under such leadership. That is because great sorrow and stress will be the fruit of it.
Solomon offers additional insight. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2). As previously stated, governmental malfeasance is not a political issue, though many try to make it so. It is a spiritual matter. Scripture is very straightforward. The people of a country will either rejoice or groan, depending upon either the righteousness or the wickedness of those in authority. If evil is punished or restrained, a certain knowledge of God and of right and wrong will encourage lawful behavior and peace. Conversely, if the wicked attain power, lawlessness will abound along with all its ill effects.
Christ warns us of one of the horrible side effects of lawlessness. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). From a societal perspective, it is obvious that as the knowledge of God is increasingly being canceled by the wicked, any semblance of love is disappearing with it. It is a very tough environment for anyone to thrive in, the believing included.
To the Church of God in Ephesus, Christ said, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember, therefore, from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5). Christ’s warning, given in love, is very sobering, to say the least. The point is that living in a kakistocracy surrounded by lawlessness is no excuse for believers to let down even a little in how we seek to exemplify our Father and Christ through love.