I hope by this time, my Sunday posts have made the case that Christians have a responsibility to be informed about politics, but should maintain a balanced perspective…I guess that’s a fancy way of rewording the old cliché, “We are IN the world, but not OF it.”
Make no mistake, regardless of our future hope, the wrong men in power will make things very uncomfortable for us presently. But today I’ve been thinking about something beyond our personal and national well-being as it relates to this election. I’ve been thinking about a higher mandate than voting, higher than being a law-abiding citizen…even higher than civil disobedience, when and if called for.
It has become all too easy to view with contempt those in authority who:
- abuse their power,
- lie to their constituents,
- act in self-serving ways,
- and betray their offices.
Indeed, how could we possibly respect them? Instead, we ridicule them, we call them names, we publish cartoons which highlight their foolishness. We see them as the enemy. We want them defeated.
And we neglect the higher mandate of every Christian. Because what we’re commanded to do is pray for them.
Now I have to stop and tell you that I’m preaching this sermon to myself. The last person I want to pray for just now is our president. Insofar as I know anything about him, I’d say I hate him. I’ve said I think he’s evil. But what do I really know, and what can I justly say? I can point to specific actions which seem to me to be unrighteous, unlawful or unethical. I can judge his conduct, and his adherence to policies that I believe are heinous.
But I am not allowed to judge his heart. I am not in a position to declare where President Obama (or Nancy Pelosi, or Bill Clinton, or….) will spend eternity. That is not my right.
What I’m commanded to do, whether I feel like it or not, is to pray for him, for all of those in public office with whom I disagree. The apostle Paul says so:
I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone –for kings and all those in authority–that we may live peaceful and quiet lives… I Timothy 2:1-3
More importantly, my Lord says so:
Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
My challenge to each believer who reads this today: Every time you think about the election, between now and November 6, do not simply pray for “your” candidate to win. Pray for the candidate the Lord chooses to win. Meanwhile, pray that all those in power would rule in the fear of the Lord. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict each one of any sinful actions., and turn each erring heart back to the Lord. Pray that God’s will would be done by each official. Pray God’s mercy on our country. Pray for wisdom as to how you can impact your community for His Kingdom, regardless of who is in office.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12: 14-21