Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on the Election

I'm not particularly excited that Obama won the election. I don't share his perspective on many issues, and I'm not that confident that he'll be the great leader that so many are hoping and expecting he'll be. It is probably unfair, actually, to put that much hope in one person. But, this is politics...

One thing I have been convicted of, however, is that I need to support him. I need to respect him and the office he holds. I need to submit to his leadership and not slander him. I need to obey and not rebel, because God has established him as our president. This is what Romans 13 teaches me.

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For 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 he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

I don't want to treat Obama the way that so many have treated Bush for so long, including some very committed Christians who ought to know better. The incendiary and vitriolic hyperbole leveled at George W. Bush by my brothers and sisters in Christ is sin, and I don't want to participate in that sin, even though I disagree with my president-elect on so many issues. I want to learn what it means to submit to authority, even when I don't agree with it. I want to be humbled and submissive. And I think this may be the best way to stand up for Jesus in divisive times like these (1 Timothy 2).

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 

Would I be saying all this if McCain had won? Probably not. So I'm all the more grateful that Obama won, because now I am more keenly aware of my sin. Now I have a tangible opportunity to pursue godliness and Christlikeness. If "my candidate" had won, where would be the difficulty of submission? I wouldn't even have thought about it. 

Does this make me a small person? Yes, I believe it does. Does it make me susceptible to the sarcastic blades of cynics? Of course it does. But I suppose that's the price to pay of having your eyes opened to your own wretchedness. And if the shoe fits, I gladly wear it, knowing that someday God will cause my foot to grow.

Help me, Jesus, to pray for President Barack Obama, and for my senators and representative. Help me to live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and holiness. Help me not to be a jerk about politics, religion, or even sports, because I know how much of a jerk and how opinionated I can be. I know that you can transform this jerk into a humble, peaceful man. I surrender, Lord Jesus. Amen.

1 comment:

Corey said...

Thanks for your humility and honesty. Our generation needs a strong dose of this.

I shared Romans 13 in a note on facebook and was refuted with a "historical context" argument, that this verse aplied to Jewish leadership only. Otherwise, the Bible is saying that God raised up Hitler and gave him authority. I disagree, in some indescribable way. What are your thoughts on this.

Another thought: if the situation is as dire as many Christians are lamenting now, I say maybe the Church would benefit from a little oppression.