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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Honoring the President

     I am annoyed by people who claim to be Christians yet bad-mouth the President of the United States on Facebook and elsewhere! Have they not read what the Apostles Paul and Peter wrote? 

Obey the government...There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. For the policeman does not frighten people who are doing right; but those doing evil will always fear him. So if you don’t want to be afraid, keep the laws and you will get along well. The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished...Obey the laws, then, for two reasons: first, to keep from being punished, and second, just because you know you should. Pay your taxes too, for these same two reasons...obey those over you, and give honor and respect to all those to whom it is due. (Living Bible – Letter to the Romans) 

     The apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem on trumped-up charges and was brought before Felix, governor of Judea. Felix was hardly an exemplary public official. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that Felix “thought that he could do any evil act with impunity.” He was more interested in receiving a bribe than in rendering justice. When Paul was brought before Felix he showed respect referring to him as “his Excellency, the governor.” Nor did Paul rant and rave about Felix's corruption and the oppressive government he served. 
     When Paul appeared before another government official, Festus, he addressed him as “most excellent Festus”. When he appeared before King Agrippa he stated, “I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” 
     Paul also wrote to Timothy and told him to “to pray for leaders and all who are in authority.” 
     Paul was not the only example. In spite of being put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Joseph treated Pharaoh and his Egyptian guards with honor. Daniel and his three friends spoke respectfully to Babylon’s evil King Nebuchadnezzar. David blessed and prayed for King Saul, even though Saul wanted to kill David. When David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he didn't because Saul was the King. 
     During a political campaign in 1774, John Wesley wrote in his Journal: 
I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: 
1. To vote…for the person they judged most worthy, 
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and 
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side. 
     No matter how much one disagrees with or disapproves of the president, if they believe what the Bible says then they are to honor the office of the president, not make derogatory Facebook posts. 
     Honoring does not mean agreeing with. Or that we cannot speak out, or that we cannot work within legal means to oppose him and change policies. It does not mean we must obey laws if they require us to disobey God's commands. Honor doesn’t mean blanket endorsement. In the democratic society we live in we can appeal to them, lobby them and express disagreement, but like Paul, it should be done in a respectful manner.

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