«Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety» (Proverbs 11:14).
Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna (1794-1876) was elected president of Mexico eleven times throughout the nineteenth century, but he is also considered one of the great villains of the history of this country. He was a spry man, cheerful, obsequious, and a flatterer of his superiors; with these attributes, he forged his way into the world of politics. Interestingly enough, for an important sector of the population, he was considered the best option to lead the country.
Surrounded by toadies who celebrated his excesses, he called himself the «Napoleon of the west,» the «most distinguished man of the country,» the «immortal warrior of Zempoala,» and «his serene highness.» He loved parades, military uniforms, and official banquets. But governing wasn’t as attractive to him, because it entailed shouldering responsibilities. So, once in power, whenever he felt overwhelmed by the pressures of the job, he would abandon his obligations and would retreat to his estates in Manga de Clavo or El Encero, in Veracruz, with the excuse of having health problems, and would leave the vice president in charge. But every time, he retreated in the midst of an outburst of anger or when his spirits were low, or because of one of his blunders, a group of his followers would go to find him, to convince him that the nation needed him. In addition, they would organize a great welcome at the country’s capital with ringing bells and adorned balconies. Once his ego was satisfied, a smile would return to his face.
The remainder of his tenure as president of the republic was an utter disaster. Mexico lost more than half of its territory and, in addition to bankrupting the country’, he led it to democratic backwardness and bloody internal wars with the followers of his worst enemy, Benito Juárez Garcia.
The Bible says that «in the multitude of counselors there is safety» (Proverbs 11:4), and true counselors are necessary to properly guide leaders instead of presenting them fictitious scenarios to gain their approval. The cost of listening to flattery is usually too high. After all, flattery is simply a lie embellished with fancy words. Flatterers usually are seeking their own personal gain, and that is why they are not reliable, especially for those who need to make critical decisions. What about you? Whose advice do you listen to?
Ask the Lord today to help you heed the best counsels in order to make wise decisions.