In less than a week, there will be a newly elected American President. No matter who is elected, I can imagine that all this turmoil we have been experiencing as a country the past couple of months will not come to an end on November 8. I would hope that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are big enough to support the other candidate should they lose, because, I do believe I can accurately make this prediction: There will be a winner and there will be a loser. What I am more concerned with is the public reaction to the winner.
We have some Biblical answers for what our responses should be:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:1-4 ESV).
First, and foremost, we should PRAY for our leaders. It makes no difference if we voted for them, if they are in the same political party we are in, or even if we like them, we are told to pray for them. In fact, we are to offer prayers in 4 ways:
- Supplications for the prevention of evil
- Prayer for blessings
- Intercession for their needs
- Thanksgiving for blessings already received
“Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God’s people should be bighearted and courteous.” (Tit. 3:1-2 MSG).
There seems to be a tradition in our country that runs contrary to this scripture and that is to hurl as many insulting words as possible at the Presidents that you don’t like and don’t agree with. The Bible tells us that we are to be beyond that.
“For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 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.” (1 Pet. 2:13-14 NLT).
Could this be any more clear? It says to Submit. You may say that you obey every law, but this isn’t about mere obedience. Submission involves so much more than just the simple act of obedience. Submission involves acceptance. Not acceptance because you have to accept it, but willful acceptance.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome sometime around A.D. 55. The date of this letter is not exact, but interesting considering that Nero became Emperor in A.D 54. Actually, the list of Roman Emperors who preceded Nero would never have won the popular vote in an American election, either. But, in this letter, Paul wrote:
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Rom. 13:1-7 NASB).
That is a difficult text to read. Difficult in that Paul is telling us that all authority is ordained by God, and He was speaking of Nero! Now, there is a lot to this. We cannot just take one section of the Bible, and say that we have to live by it and it alone. I am not saying that we must blindly obey anything and everything that government tells us. Everything we do must line up with the word of God. As an example, in the book of Acts, Peter and John were being questioned by the Council. They “commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 4:18 NASB). After that, they were “caught” teaching about Jesus in the temple. When questioned about it, Peter answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29 NASB).
Once this election is over, this country needs a period of healing unlike any election year prior, and I’m even considering the 2000 election that saw the results contested, and recounts and lawsuits. We didn’t even know the official result for weeks! This country needed significant healing after that one, and I know we are in need of it again.
I pray for a smooth process this week. I pray for acceptance of the winner of this race, whether it is Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Mickey Mouse! I pray for healing that this country needs.
If we truly want healing in this country, the formula couldn’t be more clear:
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14 ESV).