Election Day 2016…the moment we’ve been waiting for (or dreading…) The campaigning, mudslinging, obfuscating, pandering, slandering, backbiting, vitriol, and unfortunately even violence has led us to this point.
I’ll say, it’s been especially disconcerting wading through the caustic social media posts from fellow Christians. While I shouldn’t be surprised, I am, and even disappointed. We have lowered ourselves to character assassination, continued the cycle of somewhat unsubstantiated attacks on candidates, exacerbated the 24/7 muckraking, and been absolutely incongruous examples of Christlike behavior.
Dare we ask ourselves: have I been a minister of reconciliation or discord? Have I done anything beyond further alienating people with demonstrations of self-righteousness and Christian arrogance? What have I really done to benefit God’s Kingdom?
What do the Scriptures say?
While we know that God is control of who is in authority (Daniel 2:21), whoever that is, we are to:
- Honor and yield – “For the Lord’s sake, yield to the people who have authority in this world…It is God’s desire that by doing good you should stop foolish people from saying stupid things about you. Live as free people…Live as servants of God. Show respect for all people…respect God, honor the king.” (1 Peter 2:13-17).
- Submit to them – “All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God” (Romans 13:1-7).
- Pray for them – “Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- Pay taxes (Matthew 22:17-21). 😦
Hmm, not really a lot beyond that. It does however detail how we are to conduct ourselves:
- Avoiding Useless Quarrels (2 Timothy 2:23). “So let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another” (Romans 14:19). “You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’ —but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial” (1 Cor. 10:23).
- Possess Christ’s Demeanor and Attitude “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. The Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree. Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth” (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Please note that these were written in extremely persecutory times: dangerous for Christ followers and very limited if any political freedoms. But they knew their role and responsibilities, an assignment from another Kingdom beyond man’s government and political process. They refused to get involved in “civilian pursuits” (2 Timothy 2:4). While they understood Christ had the true authority, it was extended to believers not for dominion and superiority, but for service, kindness, and telling others about Him (Matthew 28:18).
As citizens, we lay hold of our responsibilities and privileges.
- Yes, vote.
- Be informed, but let it be beyond our pet issues and search beyond our typical sources of information.
- Follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in the process.
- Then let’s get busy fulfilling our responsilbiiites instead of pointing fingers at others.
And again, let’s not hold outsiders responsible for the demise of our nation. While we quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, let’s remember who it’s addressed to and what it says. If the prayer isn’t answered, maybe it’s because we’re not following the instructions.