Years ago, I was one of the forwarders. I participated in much sarcasm regarding those in authority over me, particularly sarcasm toward those with whom I held disagreements. In the midst of that behavior I was convicted greatly by the words of Romans 13 and Titus 3. Here's what they say:
- "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." Romans 13:1-2
- "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be un contentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men." Titus 3:1-2
Regardless of what my political views are and regardless of whether they are right or wrong views, God's Word convicts me on this issue. Just as Isaiah realized a sobering truth about himself in Isaiah 6 so does Lori in her everyday life - I am a woman of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips. Too many times I have not used my tongue in ways that would glorify God regarding leaders with whom I may disagree. Too many times we all have.
Romans 13 is penned by Paul under the horrific dictatorship of Nero. Has America ever had a worse leader than Nero was to Rome? Yet, look at how Paul speaks of him. He is an authority who has been placed in that position by the sovereign hand of God. Some leaders are placed for our comfort and some for our discipline, but God's hand is in the midst of the establishing of every leader for His own divine purposes. I need to trust Him!
Now, let it be said that Paul certainly spoke out regarding various issues - as should we. He was not one to candy coat sin or to ignore it. He dealt clearly and plainly with issues that faced the people of God. However, Paul spoke out while still engaging in respect to the office and the office bearers.
We can disagree and even move for change while still being a respectful citizen. If Paul challenged the church at Rome to be respectful to Nero, then who am I to refuse to be respectful of President Bush, President Obama, or whoever will come next?
Titus 3 pierces me even more for it specifically reminds us to "show ourselves examples to those around us by our subjection and obedience to the government that is over us" (Matthew Henry). What example does my speech and do my emails portray regarding this application of the law?
We are to be subject and obedient (unless we are asked to sin - Acts 4:19-20). We are not to malign or be contentious. We are to be gentle and to show every consideration for all men. Are we doing this where our leaders are concerned? Am I doing this where our leaders are concerned?
Matthew Henry commenting on Titus says this: "If no good can be spoken, rather than speak evil unnecessarily say nothing. We must never take pleasure in speaking ill of others, nor make the worst of anything, but the best that we can. We must no go up and down as tale-bearers, carrying ill-natured stories. As this evil is too common, so it is of great malignancy. This is among the sins to be put off...."
How is our speech regarding our new president this day? Are we taking pleasure in speaking ill of him, tale bearing about him, or sharing ill-natured stories. If so, may God grant us the grace to put off this sin.
Regardless of our views, opinions, and convictions where our president's positions are concerned we are to be meek in heart, speech, and conduct. Truth should and must be spoken but there are right and wrong ways to speak. May we glorify our God in how we speak.
Finally, may I ask are we praying as much for our leaders as we are talking about them and joking about them? God's Word tells us "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." As for me, I am covenanting with my God to pray for President Obama and all of those in authority over us.
In His glorious grace,