Christians in America are quick to cite scripture. We celebrate the Good News by wearing, “John 3:16” clothes. We can tell you which verses condemn homosexuality, which verses point out that we have all sinned, and which verses support our belief that Jesus was literally the son of God.
Heading in to this election season, it seems that Christians in America are also extremely political–at least those in my little circle of association are.
I noticed something interesting: No matter which end of the political spectrum my friends find themselves they say very similar things.
Those on the far right will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through the pro-life movement).
Those on the far left will insist that they are the party of true Godly Love because they support the right for all persons to have a shot at life (through “social justice” programs).
Those on the far right will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of Barak Obama).
Those on the far left will insist that Jesus is coming soon. We have obviously born witness to the beginning of the end (in the presidency of G.W. Bush).
Those on the far right will insist that our Christian nation is failing (from the influences of foreigners with different ideas regarding worship).
Those on the far left will insist that our Christian nation is failing (as evidenced by our lack of willingness to help those who are hurting, because their ideas regarding worship are different from our own).
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Regardless of their personal political beliefs in regard to individual political issues everyone seems to agree on two things:
- Our nation is hurting right now. We are not a healthy people, in any sense of the word, and something needs to be done about it.
- God is on their side and, obviously, strongly opposed to the other side.
Some days the things I see are thought provoking and make me want to learn more so that I can carry out my responsibilities as a voter with wisdom.
More often, the things I see hurt my heart. People invoke the name of God, who is Love, when speaking hate against people who may view a situation through a different lens of life.*
All of this has been weighing heavily on my heart. I think division within the church–especially the kind of division where people begin saying, “God is on OUR side, NOT yours,” is the single most harmful thing that can happen to this nation and, indeed, this world. We are one body. God is OUR father. Period. He created every single one of us.
Including the president and every one of our elected leaders.
EVERY one of our leaders. Not just the ones you voted for.
If you’re a Bible believing Christian, you have to acknowledge that not only did He create them, He chose them specially–hand picked them from the crowd–to be in a position of power.
I don’t know. Was I there when he set the stars in the sky? God’s ways are not my ways. Be thankful for that!
See, I think that Christians are quick to throw scripture around, and I think that is good. I have found, in my own life, that there is extraordinary, truly miraculous power in knowing and citing scripture. Having a solid foundation of scripture gives you a guide in life.
HOWEVER, in all those scriptures I see thrown about on social media like darts aimed at our supposed enemies, I have never once seen a single person quote Romans, chapter thirteen.
13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
If the authorities that exist have been established by God what possible right do we have to make cruel jokes about them or speak disrespectfully of them? In doing so, are we not mocking what God himself has ordained?
I would argue that these verses make it clear. We are to go on about our business, which (if we call ourselves Christian) is the business of loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us.
While we’re on our knees, begging blessing upon those who have hurt us, we must consider one more bit of scripture:
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Check out that first line one more time (with a little emphasis).
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession AND THANKSGIVING be made for ALL people–for kings and all those in authority…”
All does not leave a lot of room for negotiation.
And before you work yourself up over the war on Christians or how some other culture will be the downfall of our fine American nation (which, I will remind you, was founded upon the destruction of other cultures), take a moment to consider the authors of the words above.
The men who told us to submit to authority and pray for the king are were living in a time when the authorities were nailing Christians to crosses and feeding them to the lions for entertainment. So cry a tear, if you must, over the fact that your boss requires you to say, “Happy Holy-days” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Then tuck your hanky back in your pocket, put on your big kid pants, and pray that God’s love and blessings may reign down upon that person.
*This is a total tangent so I tagged it on the end but, if you want some seriously interesting political discussion (Not argument. Discussion.) follow Anne Rice’s Facebook page. Ms. Rice, whose beliefs fall left of center, often asks her followers, many of whom are quite conservative, a political question and she moderates with a velvet-covered iron fist. People may question, debate, discuss and suggest but “haters” are immediately banned from the thread. It’s astonishing how interesting and informative a political discussion can be when no one is allowed to use the words, “stupid,” or “idiot.”
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!
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