We just concluded the single most unprecedented presidential campaign and election in recent history, perhaps in all of U.S. history. It matters not to me how anyone voted, we all have our opinions about who is best suited to serve as president of our nation. What does bother me is how we as a nation have reacted to the outcome. People threatening to move to Canada, protesting in the streets, sobbing, burning images of the president-elect in effigy, and spewing forth all manner of hate speech.
Yesterday, while watching one of the news programs the subject turned to how the evangelicals, the Catholics, and other church-going people voted, or didn’t vote. The various groups within our society have been dissected and analyzed for which way each leaned, who benefits from what, etc. And the reality is nothing really changes much regardless of who occupies the office.
As far as the church is concerned the question always comes round to how is the church to act in light of government rule? Scriptures are thrown out and bantered about, and again, nothing really changes. The church either approves and accepts the consensus vote, or it doesn’t.
Through the years I have heard all of the arguments, pro and con, to supporting the government as believers, but the end result is that ultimately our loyalties need to reside with our Creator. Imperfect beings are elected to office. The hope is that those empowered with the authority to lead our country will make decisions that protect and serve the whole of our nation. The reality is some will perceive the decisions to be in favor of the people and some will not, the church included.
The confusion as to how we are to approach loyalties to government vs. God is nearly as old as time itself. Have not wars been fought, people exiled, taken into captivity, enslaved for generations, been the result of those who occupy the office of “leader”? The answer, of course, is yes. The narcissistic among us believe themselves to be above God, others believe they have been appointed to carry out the wishes of the Almighty, and the remainder, somewhere in the middle. How our new president-elect will perceive his mission is yet to be determined. I am encouraged that he is a supporter of Israel and that Israel is seemingly comfortable with our choice.
In Yeshua’s (Jesus) day those confused as to whom should receive their loyalty asked Yeshua who they were to support by showing him a coin. Yeshua answered by asking whose image was on the coin. The image was of Caesar and so His answer was to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s and to God what belonged to God; a most diplomatic answer! And so it is today, we are to give what is due to those in leadership, but ultimately our loyalty is to God. We trust that God is in control regardless of who is in leadership.
There are plenty of scriptures regarding government and the expected response of what those who believe is to be, however, as I have said many times before, the Bible is a living document interpreted by man, and as such, man’s opinions as to what is owed our government. The scripture, in my opinion, that more succinctly outlines our responsibility is found in Romans 12:18 “If possible, and to the extent that it depends on you, live in peace with all people.” (The Complete Jewish Bible)…..