Paul's Revolution -- Day 8
How should Christians respond in the midst of political upheaval? After all there is a difference between making your position known passionately and being down right rude. Two passages of scripture, I think, should guide a Christian’s public discourse: 1) Jesus said, “love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you.” 2). “Speak the truth in love.” Yeah, even 3). “Leave room for the wrath of God.”
Jesus’ statement of love towards enemies was directed to Jews who hated and loathed the Roman Empire. It would seem that in Jesus’ mind there was no room for violent revolt but rather of confrontation through love. In this way Christians are to heap burning coals on those who are against them. Love always seeks the other person’s interest above our own, and of course the biggest concern for all non-believers is that they hear the truth of the gospel of Christ.
However, in a Republic such as ours we have the civic responsibility to speak out when we don’t like what the government is doing. The question is how that is done. When the scriptures says that we are to speak the truth it qualifies the tone in which we are to make that declaration – love. Truth stands on its own, and it can be spoken passionately, but if that passion conveys contempt, hate, bitterness, etc., then the believer has crossed the line. I was listening to a TV preacher rail against the President, not in reasoned tones, but in angry mockery. It was a tone that stirred his followers but not one that was for the purpose of reasoned debate, reconciliation, or even redemption. Politics sometimes is a means by which people club others with self-righteous indignation.
The scriptures say that we are not to seek revenge but rather leave room for the wrath of God. As believers speak the truth in love they will face subtle and overt opposition. Some will retaliate with words and others with violence. Believers are to respond in love, hands open, not fists up. Does this mean we should never exhibit righteous indignation? There are times and issues that we should, but because we are constantly wrestling with this sinful flesh we need to be very careful to judge whether our anger is without sin. However, if we leave judgment to God then we can utilize our energies to speak truth in love and move people closer to Christ, and thus, enact real change.
This goes to my final point. President Obama is our president and we should respect the office even if we don’t respect the actions and beliefs of the individual. The scripture says we are to be subject to the governing authority and pray for them. Dare I add that we should speak with kindness and respect and give the President his due. We would ask no less from others if a true Christian conservative were in the Whitehouse. Can there really be civility in a civilized nation? Christians need to lead the way.