No Passive Men – Called to be Moral Leaders
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” - Edmund Burke
We could reword this famous quote to say,
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to be passive.”
Passive men are the cause of many of the modern world’s problems. Very literally we see the problems enter this world through the sin of Adam, a sin of passivity. Passivity, not pornography, is the number one struggle of men in our culture. This is the disease that first plagued manhood since its origin in Genesis.
But what is passivity? In Adam’s case, it meant a failure to do the most basic things God had called him to do. Let’s look at Adam a little bit.
In Genesis 2:15 it says that, “The LORD God took the man (Adam) and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it”. Adam’s first calling was to be a provider and a protector of the paradise God had given him. He first fails in his calling to be a protector. A careful reading of Genesis 2 will show that Adam was first “formed” outside of the garden and then afterward brought into Paradise (Gen. 2:7-8). The animals had also been formed outside of the garden along with Adam, who later named them (Gen. 2:19-20). Yet in Genesis 3:1 we see that somehow one of those “beast(s) of the field” had wandered in from the outside. Adam had allowed an outside influence into the place God had commanded him to protect.
This wild “beast” was no ordinary animal, but somehow served as a mouthpiece for Satan (Rev. 12:9). The serpent advises Adam’s wife, Eve, to disobey the first and only commandment God had given mankind (Gen. 2:16-17). Unfortunately, Eve capitulates and gives in to the serpent’s suggestion, thus committing the first sin (Gen. 3:1-6). The truly sad part about all this, however, is seen in a small little detail given in the text. Verse six tells us that Adam was “with her (Eve)” in the midst of the serpent’s temptation, and yet in those first six verses, Adam says and does literally nothing to stop it. Completely silent, Adam is complicit as he watches the destroyer lead his family down the path of ruin.
While Adam is the paradigm of passivity, the first and possibly ultimate example of what happens when “good men do nothing” and allow evil to triumph, there are others we could point to.
Cain saw sin “crouching at (his) door” and allowed it to “rule over” him, becoming the first murderer (Gen. 4:7-8).
Judah failed to provide for and protect his widowed daughter-in-law Tamar, and lived a self-indulgent, pleasure-seeking life – until God finally changed him (Gen. 38:1-26).
Eli the high priest failed to teach his sons to “know the LORD,” or to even follow the most basic principles of morality or self-restraint, and their debauchery led to the downfall of their entire household (1 Sam. 2:12-36).
Even David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), was a passive father who failed to protect his daughter or discipline his sons and almost lost his throne due to his personal failures (1 Sam. 13-15).
We can see that even the godliest men in Scripture can fall prey to passivity; this ought to remind us to always stay vigilant.
The problems that are rampant throughout our culture are the result of Christians not stepping up. And more specifically, not just believers, but us men of the Church. Christ commanded us not only to pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, He also commissions us to be a part of bringing heaven to earth! Our calling affects our personal mission field, and beyond that – our world. Just like Adam we are called to provide for and protect those who rely on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (Gen. 2:15). Just like Eli we are called to serve as priests and prophets of our households, leading them into the knowledge of God which is eternal life (1 Sam. 2:12, Jn. 17:3). Just like Judah, the royal ancestor of the kings of Israel, the ancestor of the King Himself (Gen. 49:9-10, Matt. 1:1-3), we are called to project the kingly vision of God into our world. When we take action, we have the ability to advance God’s kingdom here on earth. Every man wants a legacy that will outlive his own name. When we take action, we allow our actions to echo into eternity.
So what is a moral leader? The opposite of Burke’s “good men who do nothing,” could be defined as a moral leader or “a man of action.” In Matthew 11:12 Jesus tells us that His kingdom “advances forcefully” (NLT). Looking at this verse in the original language shows us that not only is the Kingdom itself “forceful” by nature (biazetai), but that it is the “forceful men” (biastai) who “take it by force.”
So let’s be men of action; don’t stand on the sideline!
Christ has a glorious invitation for you to join Him on mission every day in your own personal mission field!
Imagine a world where Christian men took action - if we obeyed the directives given to us by our God. Women would feel loved and supported. They wouldn’t allow fear and uncertainty to drive them into abortions. They wouldn’t cower at a raised hand. The orphans, widows, and homeless would all be taken care of. There would be no more police brutality, child slavery, sex trafficking, abusive homes, or fatherless households. Our neighbors would learn of God’s love through our actions. Our children would see God as a good Father. Our world would see Christ as Savior. We would fulfill our calling, following no longer in the footsteps of the old Adam, but the New (1 Cor. 15:45-49). So let’s be men of action!
 Reuters Fact Check, “Fact Check-Edmund Burke did not say evil triumphs when good men do nothing,” last modified August 9, 2021, accessed July 29, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-edmund-burke-quote/fact-check-edmund-burke-did-not-say-evil-triumphs-when-good-men-do-nothing-idUSL1N2PG1EY
 Unless otherwise noted, all Biblical citations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).