You may have noticed that it’s almost election time here in the United States. Incredible amounts of attention, time, and money have been poured into this election season, and all of this will come to a climax on Tuesday, November 6. How should we, as followers of Jesus Christ, approach the elections – and their results, whatever those should be?
I’d like you to look up and read a few different Bible passages today. First, consider Romans 13:1-7. Paul is writing to Christians in Rome – the seat of the Roman Empire which persecuted early Christians. And yet he encourages them to understand the governing authorities as rulers who have been put in place by God; therefore, Christians are to pay taxes, give honor and respect, and submit to those who are in authority – even those who might persecute them for their faith. How blessed we are to live in a country in which power transfers peacefully and without threat of imprisonment or bloodshed for those who disapprove of those in power! How much more important it is for us to fulfill the call of Romans 13 as citizens of this country!
Next, look up 1 Peter 2:13-25. Here, Peter is writing to Christians in various places in southwest Asia, who again were being persecuted for the sake of Jesus Christ. Like Paul wrote in Romans, Peter encourages his audience to respect, honor, and be subject to all types of human authority – even those that would cause them harm. Peter’s rationale for this type of behavior is that those who suffer for the sake of Christ are imitating Christ and are becoming more like Christ. After all, Jesus Christ suffered terribly at the hands of the government; he even died by capital punishment, and yet he never sinned but committed himself to God. How blessed we are to be free from the threat of bodily harm because of our belief in Jesus! Pray for those in our world today who do experience such harm! And put 1 Peter 2 into action in your relationship to those in authority over you!
1 Timothy 2:1-8 calls us to pray consistently – and to be thankful – for our local, regional, and national leaders. Jeremiah 29:1-7 calls us to work diligently for the good of our society, even if that society is foreign to us and is not our true home, as Babylon was for the Israelites in exile.
Friends, let me encourage you to do three things. First, make sure you are informed about all of the issues and individuals, local and national, that will be on Tuesday’s ballot (even if you are reading this after Election Day). Second, make sure you find time to vote, because voting is the legal, peaceful, authorized, and best way for us to make our voices heard. Third, and most importantly, once the elections have passed, pray for those who are or will be in authority over us. Respect those who are in authority over us. And give thanks to God that these decisions and transitions can be made in our society without threat of violence.
And pray for those places in the world where that last sentence is not true.