Appeasing is not necessarily a bad thing. If it calms anger, eases fear, or soothes pain we may vote for it. But if we placate what is wrong it will be to our own peril.
It is not uncommon today to find supervisors who would rather tolerate mediocrity than risk offending the substandard leader by administering discipline or corrective action. While appeasing a weak leader may accomplish temporary peace, over time it rots the very guts of an organization. First, it demeans those who uphold high standards. Second, it communicates satisfaction with the leader who is unsatisfactory. Third, it encourages those who watch persistent tolerance to themselves become tolerant. Fourth, it reveals insecurity and perhaps cowardice in the supervisor unwilling to take corrective action. Fifth, it prolongs problems which eventually will lead to an organization’s undoing. As Winston Churchill said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.”
1 Samuel 2:22-24—Now Eli was very old. He heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they were sleeping with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He said to them, “Why are you doing these things? I have heard about your evil actions from all these people. No, my sons, the report I hear from the LORD’s people is not good.”
Eli the priest did not just discover in old age that his sons Hophni and Phinehas were corrupt priests. He knew about their actions but he chose to ignore them. Perhaps his fatherly love for them blinded his ability to punish them when they broke God’s laws. Perhaps he was a conflict avoider. Maybe he worked so hard that he was too tired to get involved with their messes. Regardless, his appeasing had horrific consequences.
God judged Eli and his descendants severely. He sent a prophet who said to Eli:
Look, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestral family, so that none in your family will reach old age. You will see distress in the place of worship . . . Any man from your family I do not cut off from My altar will bring grief and sadness to you. All your descendants will die violently.(1 Sa. 2:31-33)
Hophni and Phinehas were killed by the Philistines. Much later, Eli’s apprentice Samuel appointed his sons Joel and Abijah to be judges over Israel. But they too were dishonest, took bribes and perverted justice. Eli’s pattern became Samuel’s pattern. Consequently, the elders of Israel rejected the leadership of Joel and Abijah and demanded that Samuel appoint a king to be their ruler (8:1-5). To mollify sin is a curse that will cover all effected with sores of pain.
Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller was a German anti-Nazi and Lutheran pastor who illustrates the apathetic side of appeasing:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the "Click here to receive weekly devotionals" box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)