Friday, January 22, 2016
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:1-3(NLT)
I have this political hang-up as a pastor; it goes back to the early days of my ministry. I was warned by a number of well-meaning folks that politics and pulpits don’t mix. When pushed I have a habit of wanting to push back. (Imagine that!)
Well, those folks were right to the degree that, as a pastor, you can’t get all flag-waving behind a certain candidate. I won’t do that in my role as pastor. However, in my role as pastor, I do have a responsibility to speak truth to power, and encourage others to do the same. That responsibility comes from the realization that the church is not the partner of government, nor the whipping boy of any nation; neither is the church to attempt to control government by gaining political favor or muscle.
Rather the church is to be the conscience of those who govern, reminding them that it is God who sets up or removes leaders. So, a pastor’s role is not to tell you for whom to cast your vote, but rather hold up to the light what God-pleasing government looks like.
I’m not exactly a CNN-junkie (well, not completely), but after watching some of the debates and the incessant news “coverage” of all the candidates, I can honestly say that I have not yet seen (from either side of the aisle) the kind of humility and integrity needed in the Oval Office.
Paul the Apostle encouraged all believers (especially leaders) to submit themselves to God with humility, learning to think appropriately of our own abilities, and not be arrogantly self-absorbed. I haven’t seen much of that in this current election cycle’s candidates!
Instead, I have heard a whole lot about “winning” – and that is what alarms me about the current state of candidacy for high office in this country. The office of President of the United States is not all about winning; it’s about leading with compassion and integrity.
It is culturally acceptable today to keep religion out of the mainstream of political discourse (except, of course if it would help you in the polls), but I cannot imagine you can divorce yourself entirely from bringing your faith to the table when it’s time to make a decision that affects the lives of millions of people.
And that IS the crunch – I truly believe we need to elect a leader who, when it comes to crunch time, will make a decision of integrity, with compassion and humility – I’m praying for a leader who will make decisions truly seeking God’s will, not just another “win”.
When you listen to what the candidates are saying, are you hearing compassion and integrity, with humility?