It appears our Prime Minister is at it again, this time driving a female flight attendant to tears. Our PM, who pushed his Christian credentials quite hard prior to the election, seems to talk one way and walk another way. In this case, Kevin Rudd did not get the food he wanted on an RAAF plane, so he threw a hissy fit and proceeded to blast the female food server.
Reducing a lass to tears is not the only unkind and unchristian activity our PM is guilty of. Two articles in today’s press highlight a regular pattern of him treating people very poorly indeed. It seems our PM is a serial offender when it comes to condescending, disrespectful and bullying behaviour.
One article notes the alarming turnover rate for Rudd staffers. It seems he is just not a very pleasant chap to work for: “Kevin Rudd’s short fuse and unreasonable demands have triggered an exodus of personal staff and a backlash from public servants. His staff turnover is about to reach 16, or one a month since winning office.”
The article continues: “Labor staffers – even those who have left the PM’s office – are reluctant to speak out about their boss. But some are privately critical of Mr Rudd’s management style. ‘He never gives positive feedback and gets angry very easily,’ said one. A former senior Rudd staffer described his old boss as intolerant and socially dysfunctional.”
In another article Laurie Oakes asks whether this is “the same bloke who ordered backbencher Belinda Neal to undergo anger management counselling? Apparently so.” It seems that “there are two Rudds – the bright, cheerful Kevin that viewers of Seven Network’s Sunrise program came to know, and a darker, more aggressive, less likeable figure the public does not get to see. According to a Rudd admirer who nevertheless has few illusions about the bloke: ‘He just doesn’t have a good bedside manner. You’d never employ him in human resources’.”
Oakes continues, “Cabinet colleagues, Labor MPs and government staffers have no shortage of stories about the PM’s temper and colourful use of expletives. A close Rudd associate once told a friend of mine: ‘One day, something will happen and it will all come undone. All it will take is for someone to spill coffee on him when he thinks there are no cameras there.’ Another person who knows Rudd well says: ‘It’s one thing to be cranky, but he can be cruel. And that doesn’t sit well with his strong Christian principles’.”
Will the real KR please stand up?
Mr Rudd won the Federal election in part by making the pitch that he is a committed Christian. He managed to get many believers to vote for him. But plenty of his policies since taking office have been decidedly not very Christian. And it is becoming clear that his behaviour leaves a lot to be desired as well.
Worse still, it seems that every time he gets caught out doing some quite unchristian things, he comes up with these weasel words: ‘I’m only human’ and ‘No one’s perfect’. Puh-leeeese, spare us already. These are just tired excuses which are used to cover a multitude of sins. And they are meaningless. Of course no one is perfect. That is about as helpful as saying no one is twenty feet tall.
These lousy excuses are fine for non-Christians. But they just don’t cut it for genuine Christians. We are people who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, filled with His Spirit, and born again in order to live a new sort of life. Sure, we do not become perfect, and of course we will continue to make mistakes. But God is in the business of transforming lives.
He is not interested in our paltry excuses, but is determined to remake us into his image. Of course that is a life-long process. But at the end of the day the Christian walk has got to match the Christian talk. It seems slowly but surely that the real Kevin Rudd is coming to light. While he may be pictured each Sunday strolling out of church, a real test of his faith is how he treats people – especially subordinates.
At the moment his track record is not looking too good. But instead of making hollow excuses, he could start to be a bit more biblical here: he could ask for forgiveness, demonstrate a bit of humility, and seek some divine help. His excuses may placate some in the mainstream media, but he claims to serve the one who said, “Be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect”.
That does not mean that we will attain sinless perfection in this life, but with God’s grace we will be making noticeable improvements. The goal of the Christian life, after all, is to be conformed to the likeness of his Son (Romans 8:29).
We are told to pray for our leaders and that we must do. But our PM needs to work on getting his talk in alignment with his walk. While that is something we all need to heed, it is certainly something we can pray for him as well.
While we are all capable of real failure, and while we all need to grow in grace, we do have an obligation to exhort one another and spur one another on to greater heights in our Lord. So let us all press on to be what God intends us to be in Christ.