How should we view our leaders?
Impeach the president because he’s terrible! Don’t impeach the president because he’s wonderful! That person is lying! The other person is lying! That side is dishonest! The other side is dishonest. It’s just a “good old boys” club. No, it’s not.
Sadly, the above seems to be the way our society is functioning. It appears that we are further and further polarizing ourselves from one another because of political views. In addition, there seems to be a belief that if someone’s view differs from ours we need to hate them. Regardless of political views, where have love, grace, mercy and mutual respect gone?
No matter on which side of the political fence you have settled, or even if you’re riding the fence, there are biblical directives that should drive our view of those in leadership capacities. This applies to whether we like them or agree with them or not.
One biblical directive says that we are to be subject to those in leadership because God put them there. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment, but also as a matter of conscience. 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 13:1-2, 6-7 NIV).
I can imagine that some feel that they could never respect or honor leaders with whom they disagree and really don’t like. These verses say nothing about whether we agree with or like the leaders. In either case, we must respectfully work and pray toward making changes we feel necessary. Be engaged in the issues of government. Know what the candidates’ goals are, but be respectful in our interactions. We can stand up and speak respectfully and rationally for or against issues important to us. However, according to this passage, none of that is supposed to be done violently or without reason. I’ve heard that some “pray” that certain leaders die or suffer terrible problems. God’s call to prayer is nothing like that. We should rather pray for God to give wisdom to the leader and that Christians around that leader would be a light and beacon pointing that leader toward God honoring decisions.
Praying for leaders is verified again in the following passage. “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (I Timothy 2:1-2 NIV). Let’s commit to pray for our president, senators, representatives as well as our state and city leaders… whether we like them or not.
Finally, remember that “hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12 NIV). Let’s be a grace filled people who are known for our ability to firmly but respectfully stand for what is right.
Helen McCormack and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators serving from their home in Minot. To contact Helen email: firstname.lastname@example.org