I Timothy 2:1-2 & 8
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity…. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.“
I had never understood why the Apostle Paul felt it necessary to include that bit at the end of this passage regarding praying for leaders and those in authority “without wrath and dissension”–until now. It had always struck me as a strange afterthought. Of course Christians need to forsake being contentious and unite in prayer, but what has that got to do with politics? Everything!
Just because the election of 2016 is now behind us, do not suppose that all of the vitriolic rhetoric that’s been hurled back and forth between civilized people will simply evaporate. We are doomed to keep on pointing the finger and calling one another nasty names, unless we start being intentional about forsaking wrath and dissension.
Until the election was over, I was afraid to let anyone know that I had voted early for a write-in candidate. My conscience compelled me to vote in such a way that I could respect myself in the morning, even if my candidate had no statistical chance of winning. I chose to cast my ballot for someone who appeared to be a person of integrity and with whose values I agreed. I kept this to myself precisely because I didn’t want to hear the barrage of criticism I knew my decision would have elicited. I didn’t want to be told that I was “Throwing my vote away,” or “Enabling the wrong candidate to get into office.” I knew I had voted my conscience. I committed the outcome of the election into God’s hands.
Christians have always had differences of opinion about the moral decisions they must make on a daily basis. The Bible teaches that certain issues are not core doctrines of our faith, but matters of conscience. In such matters, “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)
I believe that the people who voted for Donald Trump had what they felt were compelling reasons for doing so. Those who voted for Hillary Clinton also had reasons for their choice. I hope all those who voted on Tuesday were fully convinced in their own minds and that they have clear consciences about how they cast their ballots. But that is not for me to judge. As it says in Romans 14:4-5, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Instead of persisting in the wrath and dissension which have characterized this long and grueling presidential race, it is time to unite in sincere prayer for God’s mercy on our nation. I know I have never been more thankful that my true citizenship is in heaven. Let us continue to pray that the freedom to practice our faith in America will be preserved so that many more may be welcomed into the kingdom of God.