Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Good in Bad Politics

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. - Romans 13:1

My husband is often my source of political news. After he tells me about the latest national endorsement of sinful behavior or billions of imaginary dollars being spent on frivolous items, my response is usually, "I don't want to know." In the filth of worldly immorality, I often find it easier to be ignorant of specific headlines than to be burdened with them. Fear of losing freedoms, sadness over the public acceptance of sin, anger over poor use of tax dollars, and disgust with the actions of governing authorities are more than enough to remind me that when it comes to politics, I am happier not to know. It can be difficult to remember that corrupt politicians and liberal policy makers were established by God Himself and not just put in power by left-wing lobbyists or ignorant voters.

I tend to think of politics at a national level, especially with the recent government bailouts and stimulus plans dominating the headlines. Yet important decisions are also being made at lower levels. Last week I voted in a town election for the first time (thankfully not on anything I considered critical, since the poll results of both people and items were essentially the opposite of my votes). I also received an email from a local activism organization detailing some of the bills that are presently being considered in the state capital. Once my bubble of ignorance was burst, I could not help but feel concern over the potential consequences of the proposed legislation.

The bills that are being voted on today involve such items as redefining marriage, adding "gender expression" and other undefined terms to non-discrimination laws, authorizing doctors to end the lives of their patients and teenagers to end the lives of their unborn babies without even informing their parents, adding stricter regulations for homeschooling while relaxing regulations on marijuana possession, and creating a state income tax to fund the public schools, where children are taught that these changes are good. I feel burdened to pray for the different topics, yet at the same time, I fear that the changes are inevitable; if the bill does not pass today, maybe it will next month, or next year, or in the next state. It is not enough to hope for a favorable outcome, which may only be temporary.

I am thankful for my freedoms as an American to express my opinion, not just here on my blog, but even to elected officials themselves. Email makes it easier than ever to contact representatives and governors to urge them to take a stand for morality and freedom. Perhaps if enough concerned citizens will stand up for the truth, our nation will not crumble so quickly. And yet, though I exercised my right to vote and to contact the authorities, and I encourage others to do likewise, I must not stop there. My gaze must go higher, above the reaches of the tallest monument, to the heavens, where my Lord reigns supreme. In a fallen world, humans will always fail. Sin and corruption are inevitable. We are even told to expect persecution as Christians. Why should we dare to hope for anything good in the political arena?

Our responsibility is not to shake our heads at our leaders, or even to simply vote for them, but to pray for them. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

For His own purposes, God has placed our authorities in their position. The sinful choices they make come as no surprise to the One who knows everything. And we, as Christians, must submit ourselves to these authorities no matter how much we dislike or disagree with them. Unless they require us to break God's commands, we are to live peacefully by their laws. And we are to pray, not just for certain people to win elections or laws to be passed, but for the authorities themselves. We are to make requests, prayers, intercession, and even thanksgiving for them. In doing so, we demonstrate holy lives and please our Savior. God may even use our prayers to bring the men and women in authority to a knowledge of the truth.

So I encourage you, as I am encouraging myself, not to lose heart in the face of politics. Be informed, not to arouse anger or fear, but so that you can pray effectively. Let us use our freedoms wisely, make our voices heard when it is fitting, but leave the results up to the ultimate Authority. Let us intercede for our governing authorities, that they might be saved and come to understand God's Truth. And even when politics seem hopeless, let us live peaceful and quiet lives in submission to our authorities. The Bible tells us this is good, and pleases the One who holds the whole world in His capable hands.

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