As Christians in the United States, we embrace the premise that God has destined us for “a time and place like this.” We rally around the fact that we live in 2015, and God has purposed us to be a light in today’s cynical and hypercritical culture. But when it comes to politics, that mentality often changes. For some reason we then believe that God must have made a mistake, or at least that’s what our actions say. I have noticed over the past year or so the increasing number of Christians who openly bash the President and the government. Which, in all fairness, is no big surprise given the focus on hot-button topics such as gay marriage and abortion.
Now before we go any further it is essential to establish a few things. First, I am in no way trying to say that being a Democrat or Republican is right or wrong. Second, I am not trying to sway your opinion on these issues, or even on our current President. Finally, Jesus is not, was not, and will never be in favor of these hot-button issues. The bible is incredibly clear on that, and in no way, shape, or form am I trying to contradict this. However, the bible is also very clear on what our posture should be towards the government, and particularly, our “governing authorities.”
I understand that your upbringing, your current economic situation, and an entire fleet of other variables help determine your political stance. I was raised in a non-Christian home that encouraged political conversations and involvement. As I grew older, my interest continued to grow until I decided I wanted to be a history and government teacher. When I found Christ, that passion began to change. I began to see all the malice, slander (that I had participated in) and wedges it created over seemingly irrelevant issues. No matter whom we vote for, or how hard we lobby, the only answer is Christ, and Christ alone. I was excited to enter into the body of Christ, where I thought I would be freed of this old world, however, in some cases, it is much worse within the body.
Scroll through your Facebook feed, and I can almost guarantee that within the last week someone attending your church has posted or liked something that didn’t just disagree with the current Presidential office, but rather was insulting and filled with malice towards an individual. I understand there are many issues that we will rightfully disagree with the current Presidential office on, but in Romans 13, Paul gives us a clear picture of what our posture should be towards our leaders. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (13:1).
Once again, I am not saying that God supports the political issues and decisions that President Obama, or his administration make. What I am saying is that God is not surprised that Mr. Obama is President, or that he is making or has made the decisions he has.
By now you may be thinking, “I am subject to them. I have no choice. But that doesn’t mean I have to support them or can’t have my opinion on certain topics.” You’re right. You absolutely can have your opinion and not be supportive, but when those opinions become filled with malice or slander, you’ve gone from opinion to sin. In 1 Peter, Peter discussed this very topic in reference to believers’ attitudes towards their current emperor, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution…Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (2:13,17).
When we, as Christians, speak out on any issue, we must understand something; it is for the Lord’s sake. In other words, our actions are a direct reflection of Christ. When we say that we stand for love, yet our Facebook post says something like, “Pray for Obama – Psalm 109:8”, we send a mixed message. For as much time as you’ve taken to pray against Mr. Obama, have you ever even taken the time to pray for Mr. Obama? I am sure Jesus did not agree with and support Caesar, but in the gospel of Mark when confronted on taxes, he did recognize the God-given authority of the government and said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (12:17). He did not say, “I shouldn’t have to do this. Impeach Caesar! He is unjust!!” He understood the meaning of Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven,” and we would do well to follow his example.
Once again, being politically involved is something that is not only beneficial, but crucial as a member of our society today. However, no politician or law will ever fix us. We live in a fallen, sinful world and the only answer that will provide us with the peace we are looking for is a man who came, and died on a cross to make us righteous in his Father’s eyes. That man is Jesus.
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts HERE!
Photo via Justin Connaher