Thursday, June 28, 2012

Respecting the Government

I've contemplated posting about this for a while now but today's Supreme Court ruling (and the subsequent backlash on social media) prompted me to finally put my pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, in this case). 

Let me begin by stating that I don't particularly identify with any political party. I think of myself an independent voter, having voted for Democratic and Republican candidates alike over the years. I have friends who are extremely conservative (politically speaking) and some who are extremely liberal and many more in between. I consider political preference to be an individual choice, and not one to be forced upon anyone else.

That's one reason why it troubles me to see the political leader bashing that is so prevalent among Christians. I expect non-Christians to be quick to voice their complaints and criticism, but as Christians we (like it or not) are called to a higher standard:

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God's emissaries for keeping order. It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. (I Peter 2:13-17 MSG)

Please don't misunderstand me--I don't think that it's wrong for Christians to raise any opposition to the government or the decisions our leaders make. There is much about our government's current decisions and structure that I don't agree with. However, I think that it's important to remember that while we're not called by God to agree with or like our leaders in government, we ARE called to respect them. And I think that part of that respect is refraining from engaging in leader bashing and harsh criticism in public, and especially on a public forum like Facebook where discussions can quickly become heated. Quite frankly, I long for the days when it was not polite to talk about politics in public.

Some things I think we should do (and don't do) when we're troubled by the political climate:

• Don't assume that all of our friends share the same political leanings as us. That means we should be careful about what we post on Facebook or what we forward via email. 

• Remember that when we identify ourselves in public and online as Christians, we are representing Christ to the world. That's important to recall when we're tempted to post something that bashes our political leaders. 

• Don't assume that the rest of the world is better off than the U.S. I had one Facebook friend today post that she was ready to move to another country. I suppose it's a case of the grass always being greener on the other side of the fence, but we truly are a blessed nation in SO many ways.

• Remember that this is not our true home. No matter how blessed the U.S. is, it is not our home. There's no  where on Earth that is perfect, no country that follows God perfectly. Sin happens everywhere. Unwise decisions are made everywhere. Corruption is everywhere. Only our eternal home in Heaven is truly perfect, and we'll never feel fully settled and satisfied until we're there.

• Exercise our right to vote. If you don't like our current leaders or the decisions they've made, don't complain--head to the polls come election time. We are extremely blessed to live in a country that allows us to have a say in electing our leaders. It is a blessing that has been bought and defended by the lives of many brave men and women. Don't take that blessing for granted.

• At the same time, remember that our leaders are in their office by God's authority. Nothing--including elections--happens without God allowing it to happen. Because God has allowed them to take that position, they are due our respect.

• Most importantly, pray for our leaders at every level of government. I am so guilty of neglecting to pray for our elected officials. They need prayers for wisdom to guide their decisions, protection for them and their families, peace to handle the criticism that is constantly around them. I'm going to try to make a greater effort to pray for them regularly.

You may or may not agree with my reaction to all the political backlash that's going on, and that's okay.  This post is a reminder for me more than anyone else that God is fully aware of all that's going on at every level of government and that He is fully in control. Remembering that helps me to bite my tongue when I'm tempted to join in the criticism. 

1 comment:

Margie Walters said...

Aaaammmeenn! There is a difference is having an opinion and forcing an opinion down people's throat.