Respect the Office and the Person
This will be a controversial topic. Oh well, it needs to be said. I ask you to read this, pray about it, pray some more and think it through. Do not just react – that is part of our problem these days… Be still, know God is God… then look to His wisdom.
As the elections come closer, I have been noticing a lot of hatred spewing forth, the kind of stuff that will cause our nation to rot unless eradicated.
We aren’t the first nation to have leaders whose actions and policies are questionable. Nor is it the first time the church has felt herself attacked by those leaders. (that is a different subject, but I believe those who have reduced the pro-life debate to who pays for it through their insurance to have given up too much ground in the discussion.) Compared to the much of the world today, the US government is still comparatively friendly to the church. We haven’t had government sanctioned burning of our churches, pastors and evangelists are not tossed in jail, no beheadings etc.
And please understand – I am all for a straight out discussion on the issues, that people can make up their mind, not based in fear, but based in true positions. I think we need to appeal to more than just fear, to more than just emotion.
Even more, I think those of us who claim we trust in Christ need to demonstrate that trust – by acknowledging and heeding the teachings of the commandments, and specifically the fourth commandment. When Luther explains the “honor your father and mother”, he expands the group to whom we owe respect, by noting that they are simply extensions of paternal authority. Simple terms – they assist the parents in keeping their children safe, healthy and in a relationship with God.
Interestingly – Luther – whose government wasn’t the best either- extends that authority to civil government. Even if we don’t agree with them, we owe them the same honor we owe our parents. Don’t really see that much of respect these days. That doesn’t mean we have to tolerate their error – we need to work with them on it. But we still need to show them honor, respect, and yes, even love.
Not this “respect the office, not the person” excuse I’ve heard a lot recently. That simply gives license to our sinful nature to attack, to react in fear, to allow sin to reign. It allows us to excuse sinful behavior, and strike out in fear. And it goes against the words of scripture, that see something more at stake. This is what Peter wrote:
2:13 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. 15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.
1 Peter 2:13-17 (NLT)
Peter wrote that – when he was facing death for his witness…
Maybe we should open our eyes, and hear with our ears, and keep the way of life God has commissioned… then perhaps… we will realize the healing He is doing in this land. For it is not a candidate that has the strength to do so, it is only God.
So work hard – make you voice heard, but do it in accord with God’s word, and pray and honor those in authority…
And look and see what God is doing! He is having mercy on us!