I remember one of the first times I was made fun of in school.
I wasn't the most fashionable girl in the grade (not by a long shot!), and honestly, I didn't really even care that much. I loved school, and the learning always took precedence over what I was wearing. Most of the time I just didn't even pay attention.
But it was second grade, and apparently this was the age in which all the little girls learned what was cool and what was not. And I was certainly not. I wore one of my favorite outfits that day- complete with really stellar hand-me-down bib-overall shorts.
Which, I suppose, was the wrong thing to wear.
They were mean and teased me, and while I laughed along on the outside, I went home that day with two big lessons burned into my mind. Never wear those shorts again... and Being made fun of is pretty terrible.
Somehow, this election season- and even a few years before it began, really- feels a little (okay, a lot) like that day on the playground. All it's missing are the brightly colored slides and that distinct wood-chip smell.
We tease our elected officials.
We use social media and jokes and thinly veiled insults (and some not at all thinly veiled) to make fun of the people in power, of the people we're considering to be the next elected leaders. We make jabs at their hair, their outfits, the sound of their voices. We tease over word choice and coughs and produce vile and insulting cartoons of them.
Now, I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, as I've said before, but as Christians, how should we vote?
And I'm learning that, like so many things in life, the answer can first and foremost be found in our own true identity.
Who am I?
I am one in whom Christ dwells.
Where do I live?
I live in the unshakable Kingdom of God.
As people in whom Christ dwells, we should start by looking at what God says in His Word about governments.
There are like, ninety million verses about this very thing, but we'll just look at a couple:
Pilate said to [Jesus], “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above." - John 19:11
Governments and leaders are put into place, given authority, by God Himself.
Let that sink in for a minute. We're busy poking fun and being disrespectful of Obama, when God's the one who gave him the authority of the presidency in the first place.
Do we always understand God's choice in leader? No. (Can you imagine what the Israelites thought about having Nebuchadnezzar for a king?) But our own understanding doesn't really matter-- we live in the unshakable Kingdom of God, and He has plans for our good, whether we see it or not.
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.- 1 Peter 2:13-17
We are told, for God's own sake, to submit to human institutions-- like our government. And furthermore, we're to honor everyone, and honor the emperor.
In all honesty, I haven't been seeing much honoring going on in our country or our culture. Quite the opposite, really. While it's true that our citizenship is in heaven primarily, we're also called to live in a way that honors our leaders and governments here on earth.
This election season, how is a Christian to vote?
Vote with Respect
Disagreement is not disrespect. Making fun of a presidential candidate's hair? That's disrespect.
It is not disrespectful to question someone's decisions. It is disrespectful to slander and spread rumors.
As Christians, you and I have a high calling- and part of that high calling is to live in a way that shows respect to our leaders- not necessarily because they "deserve it"- but because God says to do it.
At the very least, we need to show respect because they are human beings, also loved by God.
We need to live and behave as those in whom Christ dwells- Christ who reminds us to love our neighbor as ourselves. And I don't like being made fun of, I don't like being disrespected, I don't like being lied about... and so I should not be doing any of those things to the leaders God has placed in charge of this earthly life.
Posts in this Series:
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