Thank God for Obama!
As our dear American brothers and sisters celebrate Thanksgiving today, I am sure that there will be much reflection about the things in life we are thankful for. Family, friends, a bountiful feast, a safe place to live, President Obama… (please don’t choke on your turkey!)
Honestly, there’s times when I look through my Facebook feed that I am saddened by the way Christians lambaste the President or other political authorities (Canadians, think Rob Ford). There’s no question that there’s character flaws galore and abused power that is making our lives miserable in some ways. There’s alarming support of immorality and even enforcement of policies that go against our beliefs and cause us to make difficult choices or in some cases, even go out of business. It’s enough to make some fearful of what the future holds.
Our Thanksgiving List
Regardless of what we think of President Obama, we really have no business as believers publicly berating him. And that goes for others in authority as well. Let’s take a look at what the Scriptures tell us.
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 Timothy 2:1-4
This passage clearly indicates that President Obama and other authorities should be on our Thanksgiving list. And on our daily list. What pleases God? That we pray for these men and women in authority and live peaceable and quiet lives which are godly and dignified. What does this mean to us? It means that if we are saying or posting things about our authorities that rile up the Christians and anger the nonChristians, then we are displeasing God. It means we are blessing and cursing from the same mouth. It means we are acting in an ungodly way.
…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:8-11
Wow, harsh right? We have free speech and can say whatever we want in North America! We are entitled to our say and we need to make a difference by speaking up!
Wrong. As followers of Christ, the Scripture is clear that we are not our own and that we should only say that which is pleasing to Him. We are to thank Him for our nation’s leaders, not speak evil of them. Verses 3- 4 explain why.
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 truth.
Pray for Salvation
Not only should we be thanking God for our leaders, we should be praying for their salvation and that they would see the truth. I believe that the passage also implies that if we are caught up in the public outcry and disrespectful to dignitaries that we are actually misrepresenting Christ to the world and will be a stumbling block to the salvation of others. Why does He want us to pray for them and live quiet and peaceable lives? Because He desires them to be saved. Don’t we?
1 Peter 2:13 – 17 tells us:
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people.Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
God’s Will for Us
Want to know the will of God for us in this tough political climate? Do good. This is part of fearing God, of bringing Him the reverence He rightly deserves. To honor those that He has put in authority over us. Do good with our speech and actions. Let’s not use our liberty as an excuse for careless criticism, but as bondservants of God.
Yes, we should stand up for what’s right. Personal conviction through the Holy Spirit will guide each one of us as to what that will look like. But let’s be clear. We are standing up for Jesus, not “our rights”. And when things don’t go our way, let us follow His example:
But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:20-25
This Thanksgiving, while we are thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on our behalf, let’s also think about what would please Him and commit our leaders to prayer. “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.”