A friend posed this question to me a little while ago:
Someone asked me today how I could post praises to God, and then bash Obama. I was also asked how I thought God would feel about this. Question: How can we as Christians disagree with the policies of this administration that go against the word of God without sounding like “bashing”?
Sometimes I think the problem is that we pray in private and criticize in public. I was much too guilty of that at one point, so I’ve quit posting my opinion about politics. People know how I feel, so when I address issues now, I talk about issues, not people, and I post the truth of Scripture, not my opinion.
Romans 12 and 13 give great instruction on how to interact with those who oppose us and those who govern over us.
Romans 12:16-21:Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Many believers, myself included on occassion, have allowed the current political tone to divide the body of Christ. We have an “Us vs. Them”, “W vs. Obama” mentality. “We” don’t like it when “they” talk about “our man”. So why do “we” expect “them” to be ok with it when “we” talk about “their idiot”? Isn’t that the attitude most days? If you need to blow steam about a particular political official with whom you disagree, do so in a “safe” place with people who agree with you and not on your facebook page where your steam could burn someone else and cause them to stumble.
So what should we do when we morally disagree with the policies of a particular administration? Paul tells us in Romans 13:1-7, “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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”
Speaking out against issues of morality is acceptable. For example, I have a real concern with some “Hate Crime” legislation that could be used to legal action against those who speak out against homosexuality. I believe that homosexuality is just one of many ways mankind has found to twist God’s good gift of sex, and in my ministry, I spend much time speaking and teaching about the truth of Scripture concerning sexual brokenness. If such legislation is passed, a time may come when I will have to choose whether to submit to the government who is asking me to be quiet on a subject about which God says I am to speak the truth or if I will practice civil disobedience, speak out and then accept the civil consequences of that civil disobedience.
But most political issues are not necessarily moral issues; we may think they are unwise, they are the result of past mistakes, they are detrimental and painful and appear asinine at times. But to bemoan the actions of any President as if the sky is falling after every speech he gives leaves the world to assume Christians are whiney hand-wringers who don’t really trust that God is sovereignly in control. President Bush is not the total idiot most Democrats make him out to be and President Obama is not the antichrist most Republicans assume him to be. Neither one is solely resposible for “where we are now” but I am certain that our current situation has not taken the God of the universe by surprise.
As far as disagreeing without bashing… I’ve learned that I can disagree without posting it on facebook. I’m learning that, as a believer, my status has a huge impact on people and I choose to use it now as a chance to speak hope and grace into the lives of others instead of using it as a megaphone for my unsolicited opinion. I don’t want the things I do or say to become a stumbling block for those who need the Gospel more than they need to see things my way concerning the American political system.
So as a believer, regardless of political affiliation, what are you doing to support our current civil servants? Do you pray for them? Do you send them notes of encouragement? Do you write in with ideas of how to change the things with which you disagree? Do you let them know your opinions? How do you keep yourself actively involved so that you don’t just become another all talk, no action complainer? After all, most of us complain that that is what “we” hate most about “them”. Turns out, we’re all “them” to someone.