Election season seems to bring out the best (sic) in those who profess Christ.
I’ve heard variations of the two following statements:
“I can hardly bring myself to even pray for Obama because of his secular…..”
“I can hardly bring myself to vote for Romney because of his Mormon….”
To hold either view, one would have to ignore the thrust of Paul’s argument in Romans 13:1-7. Namely, that God is sovereign over even overtly pagan rulers and He has brought about their rule for our own protection and provision. Whether we like it or not, the one who is in “authority is a servant for your good.”
Ancient Roman reign brought about a terror and totalitarianism that modern American politics has little or no context for. For 250 years Americans haven’t known what is like to be occupied by a foreign nation, much less a nation that ruled according by the whims and fancies of psycho Caesars like Nero or Diocletian. The Roman Christians Paul wrote to were a generation away from being burnt at the stakes and ripped apart by lions for national sport.
And Paul says subject yourselves to…them?!
The overriding issue of the ancient Jews was that an alien Roman bully had conquered and enslaved God’s chosen nation of Israel. And yet the ministry of Jesus virtually ignores that great elephant altogether to focus on loving the scum of society and confronting the hypocrisy of religiolites.
We are fortunate to live in a First Amendment driven democratic government where free speech is largely valued. If re-elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with the president’s policies on abortion without fear of a Communist shakedown on my family and I. If elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with Romney’s religious leanings without fear of a Mormon Illuminati attack on my personal liberties.
Whomever is elected this year, I can continue to speak out against the infanticide of abortion and the cult of Mormonism in reference to our respective president at the time. Roman Christians of old and Chinese Christians of new could not even imagine such a sacred privilege being thrust upon them. The individual privilege of voting and speaking for or against chief governmental leaders keeps this American experiment ticking. But with that privilege comes great responsibility. Not to necessarily cast our lots with right or left leaning ideologues, but to vote in a way that both laments and rejoices at such a right.
Yes, I say to both lament and rejoice as a way to honor our right to vote.
We should lament because our only choices on this side of eternity are between two flaw-filled sinful men. Men who will always over promise and under deliver. Men who will say every word and make every action according to a careful diabolical political theory. Men who may have the very best of intentions, yet will undoubtedly fail at bringing the soaring hope of peace and prosperity their rhetoric guarantees.
We should expect as much from, well, men.
Do vote. But vote with a hint of lament and longing gripping your soul.
And we may rightly rejoice as we vote too.
Rejoice that we have an eternal hope in the gospel of Christ Jesus. His is an eternal righteous reign with no end, not a term of four/eight lackluster years (Isaiah 9:7). We haven’t chosen Christ in an election of false promises, He has chosen us with the permanently sealed promise of his own Spirit and blood (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Many men have assumed the office of president. As a subject of another kingdom you must pray for the man who ends up holding that office, even moreso if he doesn’t pray to the one true God revealed in Scripture. And as a responsible and conscientious citizen of a free nation you should vote for the best flawed man available, whether or not he holds your biblical view of God.
But Jesus is the only King.
He is working out his rule and reign within the hearts of His true subjects here on earth (Luke 17:21). This paradoxical rule will not be denied no matter the election results. His Kingdom is here already. So Rejoice! His Kingdom is not here yet. So Lament! Voting may be a small way to honor His Kingdom. But the best way to advance it is by an unwavering commitment to the King’s final commission to us:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)