Public Perceptions

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

For many, he was a man of peace. In 1911, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Described as the “emperor of peace.” A noted leader described how “his glory as a man of peace, great enough now, will become greater,” and that he would become “a hero of peace.” That history would describe him as “The Great Conciliator.”

Who was this man? Kaiser Wilhelm II. From 1888 to 1918, the leader of Germany and king of Prussia. A man many admired. Yet how quickly opinions changed.

When World War I erupted in August 1914, many in Allied countries suddenly considered Wilhelm to be a villain. One account describes how “there is a consensus that Wilhelm II’s brash, ambitious and aggressive leadership was a critical factor” in the outbreak of war, sparked by his “imperialistic and nationalistic agenda.”

Instead of seeming like a peace-loving monarch, he was described as a “swaggering militarist.” He may not actively have sought war but his “verbal outbursts” may have encouraged war. A man who enjoyed the title of “Supreme War Lord.”

Which opinion was right? Was he the “emperor of peace”? Or the “supreme war lord”? Opinions varied, and there have been similar divisions about many other leaders throughout history. And even in our time.

How hard it can be to have the true measure of other people. To know their hearts. To look behind their promises and understand their real motives.

The Bible reminds us against that all of us make mistakes. That “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). That we should trust in God (Psalm 56:11), not in “princes…in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3).

In your life, remember to focus on God. Others may disappoint or fail you. But you always can trust in Him!