I was on Facebook Wednesday morning after the election looking to see what my young, conservative friends thought of Obama’s election to the presidency. I only saw one status that said anything about it. It went like this:
I am crying for our nation. That man will never be my president.
I couldn’t hold back. I had to respond. I typed: “Ah, but he is your president! And you need to pray for him and respect him.” My friend, thankfully, has since relented of the frustration. Things like that get me angry at Christians. They act as if God is not sovereign, as if we Christians should always get our way, and as if we can blame non-Christians for voting for someone who is a gifted speaker, charismatic, intelligent, and looks good in a suit.
Anyone who’s been on this blog knows that I didn’t vote for Obama. I think some of his policies are awful. I think he’s dishonest at times. I think that he’s fooling himself and everyone else when he says we can “turn things around” (though he did say progress might not come in his first term). I think he’s wrong on his abortion and gay marriage stance. I think his tax policy is terrible. His past friendships with some people are foggy.
Yet, I love him. I think he ran a great campaign. I think he’s a good speaker. He tells parents to get their kid off the Xbox and TV. (That might be the only way he’s similar to John Piper.) He obviously loves his wife and two daughters. I might not like Barack Obama’s policies, but he’s still made in the image of God and as of right now, there’s still hope that he’ll change, because he’s alive. (After all, Jesus’ slogan is, “Change that’s already happened,” isn’t it? Perhaps Obama will experience that life change.)
I need to love him. If I don’t love him, I’ll be indifferent, and that’s the worst thing to be. Because then, I’ll hate him. Let me know how that works out for you.
There are two ways Christians can respond to Obama’s election as president. They can be defiant, heardheaded, stubborn, and accusatory, looking to blame Obama for everything and just waiting to crush him when he does wrong. Or they can be respectful, thankful, honoring, loving, kind, compassionate, and gracious, willing to forgive him when he makes mistakes.
Christians hated it when liberals attacked Bush for mistakes made. We’d cry, “You can’t blame one man!” Let’s not do that with Obama. Take the 2×4 out of your eye instead of focusing on the saw dust in your friend’s.
Let me tell you what I am not saying: I’m not saying that you cannot tell your Christian brother or sister, “I told you so,” if things go bad for America after you warned them not to vote for Obama. Your responsibility as a Christian is to judge and keep accountable other Christains. Tell them, “I told you so,” (in a loving, non-condescending way so that they might turn to Jesus and not to hope in politics). In fact, if we read 1 Samuel 8 after Saul was elected king by God, we see Samuel warning the Israelites about the perils of having a king (vv. 10-18). In chapter 12, Samuel even scolds the Isarelites for wanting a king (v. 13-14). He says, “You saw the other nations and you said, ‘A king shall reign over us.’ You got what you deserved.”
To say that to non-Christians (or Obama) is sensless (1 Cor. 5:12-13). To point fingers at liberals and curse them and picket with signs and mock our president will not do anyone good. Most likely, it will drive people further from Christ and closer to Obama. Most probably, it will give non-Christians more ammo to shoot at Christians for our un-Christlike behavior. Pointing fingers and writing nasty blogs and picketing only reflects poorly on Christ and the Church.
How do we do this? We have to do two things. Pray that we’ll love Obama. Pray for him. You don’t pray for what you don’t care about. If you want him to be cursed and damned, you won’t pray for him. If you want him to know Jesus and be a man of integrity and honesty, you’ll pray for him. In 1 Timothy, Paul said, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions” (vv. 1-2). Paul and Timothy dealt with more ruthless leaders than Obama. Right now, we aren’t going to be beaten, evicted, and imprisoned for loving Jesus. If Paul can say (and do) it, so can you. He even says in verse 3 of the same chapter, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people [even Barack Obama] to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Christians have a choice to make. You can sneer and jeer and talk badly about Obama. Or you can pray for him. It’s going to be hard, because we are sinners. But I know what I want to do. I know what God wants us to do.