|As my father might say, I am a “red blooded American,” proud of my country and a big supporter of free speech and the other inalienable rights afforded me by the constitution. But enough is enough!
Here is the issue. Recently, in Hanson, Massachusetts three bill boards showed up expressing a political opinion. These boards were in front of a private business off a public highway. One of these boards showed a little girl raising her middle finger in protest. Along with the picture, the message read, “Thanks, Obama. You’ve spent my lunch money, my allowance, my inheritance, 35 years of future paychecks and my retirement. You jerk. Vote for Romney for 2012.”
Now let me be clear. I also have strong feelings about the economic policies of our current government. I am very politically aware. I actively encourage others to engage in dialogue about our government. I will as always, vote with passion.
But here’s my problem. Those bill boards reflect a national conversation that has ignored the need to honor those in authority over us. And as believers in Jesus Christ, you and I are constrained to live lives (to the best of our ability) according to the dictates of the scriptures. And the Bible clearly addresses how to relate to those in authority.
As Christians, we are told to never speak evil of “rulers” (Acts 23:5, Ex. 22:28, Ecc. 10:20). We are plainly told in 1 Peter 2:17 to “honor the king” (or in this case, the governing authority, the President). Jesus specifically taught that we were not to offend those in authority (Matt. 17:27 and 22:21).
And a clear case is made in Romans 13 to live our lives in submission to governing authorities. The basis of that instruction is the reality that “authorities that exist have been established by God.” The one who is in authority is “God’s servant” for our ultimate good.
Now in this brief commentary, there is no opportunity to fully unpack the meaning of Rom. 13, but at the very least, we need to follow the injunction of1 Timothy 2:1-2 and pray for the “king” and all those in authority over us. That must include our elected officials and certainly it must include our President.
As a child, I was taught to respect those in authority. I didn’t always agree with decisions that were made, but respect was not an option. Their office demanded that respect.
Which brings me back to the little girl on the bill board flipping off the President. I am suggesting that this week, all Christians dial back the rhetoric and take serious our responsibility to pray for those in authority. We are blessed in this country to have the right to disagree with our leaders. We can dialogue about those disagreements. We can vote those we have difference with out of office.
But at no time are we allowed to ignore the honor that is due them!