As a Christian, how should I respond to our secular leaders, especially those at the top, when I disagree with them? What does the Scripture have to say about this?
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What Makes for a Good Leader?
Some of our Presidents I have liked and thought they did a reasonable job (meaning I agreed with their positions). And others were considerably less desirable in my mind. I am really glad I live in a country where we have some choice in who fills the leadership positions at the federal, state, and local levels. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me as to what would make a good leader and what their priorities should be. And so it is not uncommon that I find our leadership, apparently with the backing of a majority of voters, leading us in a direction other than what I think is right.
And I suspect that I am not alone in this. Everywhere I turn I hear people complaining about elected officials, especially presidents. They seem to be convinced that if only we could replace this person, or that party, all would be well with our nation again. And if that replacement does not occur soon there will be nothing left to salvage. I know people on Facebook for whom a significant number of their posts are calls for us to dump the current president because he is the devil incarnate, or nearly so. And it seems not to matter who that president is.
One of the nice things about living in the US is that we have the right to have differing opinions. And we have the freedom to express those opinions loudly and freely to the rest of the world. But I have to admit to some agitation when I hear Christians vocally denouncing our president. It somehow seems at odds with what I am instructed to do as a believer. Please note that I am not suggesting that we agree with all he might be attempting to do. Nor that I should not take the opportunity to vote my conscience or to campaign for an alternative. But I am suggesting that as believers we have a certain responsibility to our president and other leaders. One that seems to often take a back seat to complaining about him.
Honor Those in Authority
One of the responsibilities I have as a Christian is to honor the secular leaders of my country.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.Romans 13:6-7 NIV
I may not think a particular president is doing a good job or that he is worthy of honor. Nonetheless, he is the president and that position is one that I should respect and honor. While that person himself may not be worthy of our respect, the position he/she holds is. Continually expressing the opinion that the man is a jerk who is destroying our country does not strike me as being very honoring.
Pray for Those in Authority
Secondly we, as Christians, are called to pray for our secular leaders. For those who are in positions of authority over us.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
We are to pray for their needs, to pray for God’s activity in their lives, and to pray with thanksgiving. Praying with thanksgiving is kind of challenging when one has a negative attitude toward a person. The end result of our prayer is that we would be able to live peacefully in godliness and holiness, creating an atmosphere that would lead others to come to the truth. Our prayer should not be that God would throw the bum out. But that God would use them to accomplish his purpose in creation.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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