Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Attitudes Toward Those in Government

WARNING - The blog you are about to read is real...and it's a bit more "soap box-y" than other entries. Read at your own risk.

Romans 13:1 - "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."

1 Timothy 2:1-2 - "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."

1 Peter 2:13 - "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good."

I'm sure we could go on and on about these verses and our new president. However, there seems to be a way in which we can live under this new government that is sinful and a way that glorifies God. To say, "Yeah...I pray for the president" and then curse him in every way possible, making him the butt of jokes and using his name to try and stir up emotion in our churches...this seems, to me, to be a horrible attitude and even a sinful one. When I was in seminary, Bill Clinton was our president, and I was serving a small church just outside Louisville, KY, while going to school. The church never "amened" preaching about Christ, the Word, the need to reach the lost, or any other godly, biblical notion. However, the one day when our pastor mentioned the moral failure of Clinton and its negative effects on our nation, there was a hearty "AMEN".

This broke my heart. I do not approve of any moral failure...mine or yours or the presidents. But I do not, in some "spiritual way", rejoice in the condemnation thereof. It seems to me that our hearts should break over the fallen condition of mankind, and it should be a reminder of how, all the more, we ought to be proclaiming Christ as the Savior of the world. This prideful disdain for the "really sinful" is not a new thing...Jesus dealt with it, the Pharisees. The same people that angered the Pharisees because of their sinfulness were drawn to Jesus because of His compassion and offer of hope.

Am I in full support of all the political views and agendas of Barack Obama? Absolutely not. Do I think we Christians should spend the next four, or potentially eight, years forwarding angry emails, making crass jokes, and/or living in fear of this president? No. It is God who has set Obama in authority. If we do not believe this, then there is no hope for our nation or our lives. If those who say the election of such a liberal president is a sure sign of the second coming are right, then why is our faith not increased instead of bruised....why is our holiness not more apparent rather than hidden by our sarcasm, jokes, and lack of respect?

We ought to want justice and fight for it at every turn, but you and I both know that our grumbling, complaining, coffee shop ranting, and sarcastic joking do not fight justice. Too often, they reveal hearts that are not comfortable when the sovereignty of God deals a hand we don't understand.

So, my friends, pray for our president. Let's not just "hold on 1481 days until socialism, pro-gay legislation, and extreme abortion rights are out of office". By all means, hate sin and oppose evil, but do it in ways that honor God. That means our motivation and method must be pleasing to Him...not just our intent to oppose evil.

I would encourage you to read this prayer by Al Mohler and look at it as a kind of model that may help us all as we engage in fervent prayer for our president, our new leaders, and our nation's future. ( - it's the January 20 blog entry)