Summary: A message about how we are called to react to our new government - whether we agree or disagree with them.
* This message was adapted from, and to a degree copies, Rev. Steve Shepherd’s excellent sermon of January 22, 2009 - "A New Beginning For America".
Done with Rev. Shepherd’s permission.
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··· Where would you be if you had all the money your heart desires;
··· If you had the biggest home in the neighborhood;
··· If you always had your bathwater prepared for you;
··· And if you had perfect kids?
You would hope for all of these things, but the truth of the matter is you would be in the wrong house! Nobody has everything they want or hope for in this world.
I think the above thoughts could apply to the new administration in America, too. This past election, more than any other I can ever remember, was driven on hope. It had little to do with experience, as President Obama has little experience. It had nothing to do with ideology, as America has been split in two along ideological lines. No, this particular election was driven almost entirely by hope; the hope that things can and will get better under new management.
I heard on the news that there are actually some people in America who now believe they won’t have to pay any future taxes and that their rent and mortgage payments will be paid by the government. I know that we all hope for a better tomorrow, but I seriously doubt that our tomorrows are going to include the government paying our bills for us – while we don’t.
We all hope for a better America; an America with an improved economy and lower unemployment rates. We all hope for peace in the world; and for leaders who will do the right thing for the people’s sakes, not for some political party’s sake. We cannot put all our hopes on a single leader.
America is under a new leader. Some are glad, some are sad. But before we react too swiftly with our personal feelings, let’s see what God has to say about how we react towards our nation’s leaders.
1 PETER 2:13 gives us a command; it is not a suggestion.
‘Submit yourselves (for the Lord’s sake) to every authority instituted among men ...’
In verse 17, it follow that up by saying,
‘Show proper respect to everyone; and love the brotherhood of believers ...’
Let me take a moment and explain these two sentences. We are to submit to our leaders, not for our sakes, but for the Lord’s sake. We are not told to submit to them only if we agree with them or like them. We are to be submissive to our new leaders – period.
And we are to show respect to everyone; again, not just those we happen to agree with. God is saying that if we are Christians, we MUST show Christian attitudes in what we say about people and how we react to them, especially our leaders.
And when someone else of our faith disagrees with us, we MUST show the love for them that Christ wants us to show, and not get all angry at them for their attitudes or opinions. For if they say something to us of an unseemly nature and we react with anger or frustration, do we not sink lower in the woodpile then they?