We all know now that Barack Obama was re-elected to the office of President last night. Some of you feel he is the right leader to bring America together and move us forward, and you are thus understandably elated; others of you believe him and his policies to be the problem. The purpose of this post is not to side with either of you. It is to help us think through what every Christian’s role is now.
Regardless of how you voted we as Christians must be committed to honor, pray for, and respect him with all the respect his office deserves. The Apostles Paul, Peter, and even Jesus himself command us to do so (1 Tim 2:1-4; 1 Peter 2:17; Mark 12:17).
Regardless of which political side you are on, there is much to be grateful for with President Obama. He seems committed to ruling under the parameters of democracy, to preserving the freedom of speech, to maintaining peace wherever he can, and to prospering our nation. Furthermore, by all indications, he loves and is a good father to his family.
We should pray that God will use him in the days to come to heal the bitter division now existing in our country. Those who lost last night should not give up on the political process but continue to make their case for smaller government civilly and fairly. Those who won should try to pursue their passions in a way that speaks humility and builds consensus. Both “sides” have some important things to say, and both can surely learn from one another.
Regardless of where you stand on other issues, Christians must be absolutely united on these fronts:
- Abortion is an horrific evil and the scourge of our nation right now. The commodification and discarding of human life simply for convenience, or just because we can, is among the greatest evils ever perpetuated by the human race. We must pray that our country, and our president, repent from this trajectory. We have lost nearly an entire generation of children, in particular African-American children, to this evil. Our God will not hold us innocent if we do nothing when innocent blood is shed.
- Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s established pattern for the family, laid down in creation, his building block for society. Governments do not create marriage, but they do recognize it. The further disintegration of marriage and family will have devastating effects on generations to come. This issue certainly does not rise or fall with the president, but he does have a great deal of influence over it. We must pray that righteousness (which shares a Hebrew root with justice) be preserved in our society (Prov. 14:34).
- Freedom of conscience is a precious and important freedom. It is our greatest, though most tenuous, freedom. It concerns me to see government taking more active of a role in determining what we are or are not allowed to practice within private institutions. Freedom of conscience is a freedom few people in history have enjoyed, and I can’t imagine our enemy, Satan, intends to let us enjoy it much longer if he has any say in the matter. This is one of his most effective weapons against the church.
- There are moral dimensions to our debts, both public and private, that we must consider. I am not here endorsing any particular strategy to dealing with that debt, simply stating that this is an issue we must take very seriously. Debt has implications for us morally as well as for our futures (Prov 22:7).
Summit Church, I would remind you that we have a unity that goes deeper than politics. The only way to find unity amidst division is to have something that unifies you that is deeper and more significant to you than all that divides you. For us, that “thing” is Jesus and his mission. He died to save sinners in every nation, starting within our families and communities, and our job is to preach his gospel and extend his kingdom irrespective of the political climate of the nation we happen to live in. This nation is not our true home; the United States has never been, and never will be, our primary kingdom. Thus, our unity goes way beyond a theory of taxation or strategy to fix the economy.
For many of us, politics is an idol. It’s too important to us. I’m not saying that your political opinions are too strong, I’m saying your passion for Jesus and his mission is too weak. You let politics dominate your emotions and determine who your friends can be.
“I am a companion of all those who fear you and keep your commandments” (Ps. 119:63). The mission of and love for Jesus ought to marginalize, to some extent, every secondary agenda.