In the months leading up to the presidential election last week, most of the political pundits and news commentators avowed that this was a ground-breaking election, the likes of which had never been seen before. During the last several months of the campaign, both major presidential candidates dished dirt on their opponent, taking every opportunity to bring up some heinous fault to prove that they were unworthy of holding elected office. There was deep divisiveness with protests, name-calling, slandering, vandalism and personal attacks occurring on a daily basis. There was incredible tension in workplaces and homes as co-workers and spouses vehemently disagreed about the candidates’ worthiness to hold office. I, perhaps naively, believed that the ugliness, mud-slinging, and division of the campaign would be over on November 9th as is often the case after the final votes are counted.
To my dismay, I found that not only was I wrong about it being over, it was gaining steam! A certain amount of disappointment from the supporters of the losing candidate is to be expected, but the outpouring of hatred, protests, violence, and mutiny (“He’s Not My President”…) was unprecedented and, quite frankly, shameful behavior – ESPECIALLY amongst Christians! We are commanded to obey civil authorities, respect their office and pray for them (cf.,1 Pet. 2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7).
Our duty as faithful believers in God is to obey His Word, both in our speech and in our actions. The Apostle Paul spent much of his time encouraging unity in the early church because he knew that division/disunity was a certain recipe for anarchy and destruction.
The same principle holds true for the governance of any peoples. Even our country’s founding fathers knew this and boldly stated, “Let us trust God and our better judgment to set us right hereafter. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” (Patrick Henry, 1799). Six decades later, future President Abraham Lincoln paraphrased a passage from the New Testament: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” (A. Lincoln, 1858). Any time a government goes through a transition of power, that government, therefore also its people, are more vulnerable to threats, both domestic and foreign. As a citizen of the USA, and more importantly a citizen of the Kingdom of God, we are obligated to support the unity and cohesiveness of our civil government. Regardless of your personal opinion about any of our newly-elected officials, I encourage you to support the new authorities; in doing so, you will be showing the world that Christians obey the commands given to us in Scripture and our faith is not merely talk. Let’s pray.
-Pastor Dave Jones