During this election season, it appears that America’s newest national pastime is “Bash the Politician.” Political candidates and elected officials alike are treated like piñatas. Presidential debates are akin to watching a rousing game of Whack-a-Mole. The candidates attack one another and then act surprised when the news media, commentators, and general public take pot shots at them. As Biola University President Barry Corey pointed out in his book, Love Kindness, our nation has lost a sense of civility in public discourse. Because of how we treat one another, perhaps we have the candidates we deserve.
As those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, we need to get back to what Scripture calls us to be and to do. In relation to public officials, we need to practice respect, submission, and prayer.
Mark 12:17 – Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
1 Timothy 2:1–2 – First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
The attitude of disrespect, disobedience, and thinly veiled contempt even creeps into the church at times. Perhaps this is why the writer to the Hebrews includes verse 13:17 in his letter.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
The next time you are tempted to criticize someone who is in leadership or aspires to leadership—whether in the State House, the White House, or church house—stop and pray for them instead.