I have often wondered about the 2016 political race. We are at a time when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are looking like the presumptive president (What about Gary Johnson?… Who?). What is a Christian to do? We could discuss the obvious Christian issues (abortion, gay rights, supporting Israel, etc.) but is there something that we can grab hold of from the writers of the Bible? I believe there is. Consider the following:
- The government of the first century was bad.
Rome was not known for its upright and compassionate leaders. Caesar actually thought of himself as a god. There was no going against Caesar. This is why the Jewish mob brought forth the charge of Jesus being a king to Pilate. This was a major no no. The Jews had already made up their mind that Jesus was a blasphemer because He stated that He was the Son of God but this did very little to get the Roman government to kill Him. It was not uncommon for Roman soldiers to grab the nearest person and have them carry their equipment for a mile. Hence, this is where Jesus gives the instructions of going two miles if asked to go one. Roman slave owners were known to kill their servants for the tiniest of violations including just to watch a man die (this occurred well before Johnny Cash). To rehash, Rome was bad.
2. Rome was not a democracy/representative republic.
Sometimes we want to extract from something we cannot extract. Trying to see how to vote from the Bible by looking at how those in the New Testament voted will be a futile task. The leaders were appointed by the leaders and not the people. Upon examination, Paul has instructions on what to do about our leadership. He stated that we ought to pray for them and be under their authority (Rom. 13:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; 1 Tim. 2:1-3). This might have come as a shock to those early Jews that had seen their share of uprising against those tyrannical powers. This instruction will come in handy considering that Christians were instructed to leave Judea and go to the mountains when they see the armies approaching (Matt. 24:16). According to Josephus, there was a slaughter of over a million Jews while the Christians seemed to miss the bullet. This would occur because the Jewish people had had enough of the oppression of Rome. They took up arms and died.
You might be thinking, if we can’t fight and we have to be under their authority, then that means we must just roll over and take it. That is a negatory Ghost Rider. Consider…
3. How we to respond to an godless and evil government.
Looking at the way Paul dealt with leadership is a great example of how we are to respond to our leadership. Did Paul pray for the leaders? I guarantee he did. Did Paul just let them go on in their wicked ways? Consider Felix, that most noble Felix. Paul reasoned with him about righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come (Acts 24:25). Imagine Paul standing before the U.S. Supreme Court and our president. He would tell the truth but I believe it would sound much different then what we see on Facebook and even our church buildings. Do I agree with our government? No! No! No! I believe there are many people going to burn eternally because of what our leaders have put in place. What I am saying is Paul spoke the truth with the understanding that God placed those individuals in their position. Truth was spoken but it was done in a respectful manner with a heart of love desiring them to change. Paul did not pull any punches with his words but recognized that the way he approached leadership was the way he approached God’s appointed. Should we let our voices be known concerning our Christian values? Yes, but I think many times our approach has caused many to doubt our cause. So…
4. How should you vote?
I can’t tell you that in public. I will lose my tax exempt status. They will pull my preacher card from me. Actually, I don’t know if that is true or not. Let me put a thought in your head though that you can take to the ballot box. After leaving the ballet box, Jesus comes to take His bride home. How do you wish you had voted? Is the economy the most important thing on your mind or should it be the one that better follows the commands of God? I believe you need to seek God first even in the ballot box.
5. Concluding thought.
Our prayers are still required even for the vilest of politicians. Those in authority are there because God put them there for a reason. Truth still needs to be spoken in a proper manner.
Everybody, just please settle down (I hear lavender oil behind the ear does good). Remember, God is still in control.