Of Presidents and Prayer

Politics.

A very touchy subject.

Practically every person you meet has opinions about politics, and they all hold those opinions to be the absolute truth.

Your political party defines you, to some extent…

But should it?

More and more, recently, my Facebook feed has been full of my friends commenting on politics.  The thing that bothers me is that none of these comments has been positive in the least.

Why does this bother me, you ask.  Do I agree with what is going on in our country’s government?  Do I think my friends are wrong in their beliefs?

Not necessarily.  But, you see, the majority of these politically vocal friends are Christians.

What does that have to do with anything?

Well, let me answer you: it has everything to do with this.

In 1 Peter 2:13-15, Peter writes to the persecuted church, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to the governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.”

And in Romans 13:1-2, Paul writes, “Everyone 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.  Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

We are called to submit to authority, which in America looks like the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, state Governors, etc.  This is a difficult call, isn’t it?  One which we wish to ignore.  We think, This is a ridiculous command!  Preposterous!  Surely it was written only to THEM, not to me.  That was completely different than now.  Back then, it was easy to submit to authority.  Surely God cannot expect me to do the same now.

Well, we are partially right.  The people to whom these letters were written had completely different circumstances than we do.  We are outraged by national healthcare plans and economic policies.  But they—they had it easy.  They were only KILLED for following Christ.  No biggie.

Yet still, God called them to respect the kings who killed them for following Him.

Let’s compare our situations.

An example from then: Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power, [who] did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).  Authorities seized him and stoned him to death.  As they were killing him, he “cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:60).

An example from now: The president makes a (perhaps misguided, perhaps carefully calculated, perhaps earnest) plan to try to take better care of his citizens’ health, to improve their standard of living, even save lives.  Our response?  Outrage!  Idiot!  Impeachment!!!

What a striking difference there is!!

It is no wonder we can’t tell the difference between Christians and their unsaved neighbors, if our reactions are so far from the example that Jesus set.  He, God Almighty, allowed human governments to nail Him to a cross, and then He forgave them for killing the God of the universe.

Brothers and sisters, something needs to change.  By all means, hold to your beliefs about right and wrong, if they align with the truth in God’s word.  But let us begin to obey God when He tells us through Paul, “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 in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

The next time you find yourself about to loudly disrespect the president or Congress, perhaps you can first stop and pray.  Pray that God will influence their decisions, that they can come to salvation, that God will change this nation through transformed hearts, rather than different, equally-lost politicians?

Really, the only hope for this nation, for any nation, is God.

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