by Niki Turner
I'm writing this post on the Monday before the election. I'm concerned about how folks are going to react once the votes are counted and the results are in.
This has been one of the most negative, angry, unpleasant campaigns in my lifetime. No matter who wins, the other side will be unhappy and disgruntled. Division and strife are running rampant in America, and I believe that's more dangerous than any particular administration or who has the Congressional majority or which Supreme Court justice is appointed.
With all this negativity around us, what IS our responsibility as Christians, those who are attempting to live according to the Bible and set a good example in the way we react and respond to life, including political discourse and the state of our nation?
Here are a few things to consider...
1. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, God is still God and all His promises are still in effect. Donkeys, elephants... Jesus trumps them all.
2. Our battles are not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual forces that are thwarted by the prayers of the saints. Legislation can't change hearts and rarely has an effect on behavior, but prayer and Godly demonstrations of love DO change lives, every day. Is your faith in a Supreme Court decision, or in the supernatural power of prayer and worship?
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2 Cor 10:3-4 NKJV
3. Jesus, during his earthly life, lived in an occupied nation. Not just occupied by a couple different political parties in disagreement, but a nation actually occupied by a foreign army. Yet we never see him railing against the Romans or stirring up a PAC to promote His perspective.
Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"
He saw through their duplicity and said to them, "Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?"
"Caesar's," they replied.
He said to them, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.
Luke 20:22-26 NIV
4. Paul conducted his ministry under the rule of some of the most horrible, vicious, anti-Christian leaders the world has ever known, yet he wrote in his letters to the church that we are to respect and honor those who are in authority and to speak well of them.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Rom 13:1-7 NKJV
5. The wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness God desires. Getting all stirred up and angry over politics will not, according to the word of God, produce the results we all want to see in our nation: peace, unity, wholeness, prosperity, etc. Anger and offense are inefficient, ineffective means of creating lasting change.
... for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 NKJV
6. Grumbling and complaining are not high on God's list of character virtues. In fact, the OT folks who griped about Moses (who didn't do everything right) were eaten by the earth they stood upon (Number 16). Life lesson? If you don't have something nice to say, it really IS better to keep your mouth shut, even on Facebook!
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Phil 2:14-16 NKJVAs I sit here, contemplating the election, I am reminded of the importance of walking in love at all times, of looking past every "flesh" label, of praying for those who are in authority over us no matter who they are or what I think about them, and, above all, of trusting God... HE alone is my King of Kings, my Lord of Lords, and He has made us citizens of His eternal kingdom.
May every genuine believer rise up in the true spirit of Christ Jesus following this election, and demonstrate God's grace and mercy and goodness, no matter who ends up in the Oval Office.
yes, it was a nasty place full of doom and gloom on Wednesday (the internet). Wanting to keep my head in the sand, I didn't check the results until Wed. afternoon and avoided most of the TV coverage on Tuesday.ReplyDelete
I'm sad for what I saw online. I think its because we all put too much on this election. Those for Romney see it as a decidedly unhealthy continuance of recent policy and those for Obama see it as a chance for things to get better. Yikes. Shame on all of us.
maybe what made me feel sad was how it had really focused us all on our differences and what we feel is important. As Christians, we are supposed to realize how out of sync we are with the world - this really brought it home. I see such a change in America since I was a young woman. Such changes in only 10 years, even!
Yet the Bible told us all along how things would continue to deteriorate for believers and how important it was for us to hold strong to God's word and His promises. It's time to just go out there and show love again. Our 'job' hasn't changed. Great reminders Niki.
You know, I'm fairly moderate politically, and I think the Obama's are an adorable family. So I wasn't too upset that Obama won, until I started reading all the facebook comments, then I did start getting bummed out. All of your points are great, Niki. Just because something doesn't seem like the "best" thing to us, doesn't mean it won't accomplish God's purposes.ReplyDelete
The electoral college thing stinks, though. I really think we need to change it, and I thought that even before the election. It's outdate and serves no good purpose. And I wish we could vote on more issues directly instead of always having to pick one of two packages. What if I don't want either package deal?
Niki! Amen and amen! This is such an awesome reminder.ReplyDelete
I, too, was so discouraged by the negativity and sometimes plain visciousness. I actually made a decision this year not to listen to the radio for the last several months and watch only recorded shows so I could fast-forward through commercials because all of the verbal attacks give me an anxiety reaction. I certainly never expected to encounter them on my Facebook feed.
And no, I'm not saying I never say anything negative. We're all human. But I try to let it go and move forward. I try to stay optimistic and hopeful and move forward with my eyes on God. To do otherwise breeds bitterness and I've seen too often what that does to people.
We belong to the King of Kings. How can we do anything but go forward with joy in our heart and faith for our future? God is still God. He IS our present and our future. If we keep our eyes on Him, we have nothing to fear.
Great post, Niki!
Yes, election night was UGLY, and Wednesday wasn't much better. I gave up and watched Muppet chickens singing "Joy to the World" several times.ReplyDelete
By Wednesday afternoon I started seeing more posts from Christians about how God is still in control, etc. The thing that gets me is why don't we have that attitude BEFORE the election?
When the world gripes and grumbles, I expect it and feel sorry for them, because they really don't have any hope. But man, when Christians start complaining and speaking curses and doom over the nation they say God gave us, that gets my dander up. Whatever dander is... I'll be looking that up later.
Dina, I remain uncertain about the electoral college system, mostly because I haven't really researched its origins and why it was set in place. Somehow I doubt it was intended to undermine the election process originally...ReplyDelete
THIS would be a crazy idea (and it's how they used to do presidential elections). The #1 winner became president, and the #2 vote-getter became VP. Personally, I think that would help settle some of the partisanship, and soothe the strife and division, which, IMHO, is the most dangerous thing we're dealing with right now.
Suzie, you're so cute. I eventually had several of my children come in and take my computer away... I was getting SO flustered, and they know where that goes! Major panic attack! You were wise to shut it all down.ReplyDelete
We are NOT of the world, and we're supposed to look and act and sound different, so in the midst of all this vitriolic complaining, our words should be sweet and soothing. Working on it. :)
Well said. I was getting myself all in a tizzy about the election, and I felt a distinct urge from the Holy Spirit: PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT.ReplyDelete
No matter what your political leanings are, please PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT. The Bible says the King's heart is in God's hand. God is ultimately in control. We all want a godly nation, and God knows what that looks like.
If we turn to him and repent and WANT His government, I believe He will give that to us. One of the first steps is to PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT.
Niki, if I remember correctly from school, the electoral college was somewhat based on a more elitist idea that we shouldn't trust people with the direct vote. Also had to do with how spread out our country was a the time and the fact that news traveled slowly.ReplyDelete
Excellent post, Niki. There is so much anxiety and strife surrounding politics. I hate listening to the talking heads who make minor differences with one another or minute bloopers into huge issues in order to fill up a relentless 24 hour news cycle.ReplyDelete
These reminders are so important and I will say that I had peace about this election even though I had a feeling how it would turn out. DeAnna's reminder is absolutely on point. We need to pray for our leaders, and our nation at all times and with confidence that God will act to preserve His people and His word.
Me too, Deanna. When Clinton was elected for a second term the church was all frenzied over that, too. At the time I was leading corporate prayer at the church. When we would pray about the election, I felt SO strongly to pray God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven, because He sees and knows all, and we see only in part. And after the election, we prayed diligently for Clinton. I believe many others did as well, and the nation prospered greatly, as did the church. Maybe when we have the leader we think we should have we stop putting our trust in God, and when we have a leader we don't trust, we PRAY and God can move.ReplyDelete
Dina, that's about all I remember, too. For some reason it seemed incredibly confusing, which could have something to do with where I was at during my HS American government class (not in class, probably), or it IS really confusing.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lisa. As I said in my comment to Deanna, God has spoken very plainly to me in past elections about the way we ought to pray for the outcome and for the leaders who follow.ReplyDelete
I've been horrified and ashamed by the words and behavior of some of the ministers I know from our pastoral stint. Just because of whose ministry we were following when we first came into the church, two of the earliest lessons that were drilled into my spirit had to do with avoiding strife at ALL costs, refusing to sow seeds of division, and respecting those in authority... whether it's spiritual authority, the local sheriff's deputy, your boss, your husband, or the president of the United States. It pains me to see those lessons trampled under fear, rhetoric, and blatant hatred. *sigh*
I guess it's "back to the prayer closet" for all of us!