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Navigating the Political Melee

Posted by on September 10, 2012

Courtesy nirots

My younger daughter ran for student council representative for her class last week. She ended her speech with the words, “I’m C______ Fairchild, and I approved this message.” Clearly, someone has seen and heard too many political advertisements. Doesn’t it seem like we’ve all seen and heard too many of those? And it’s only September.

As the general election nears, it’s easy to get caught up in the political rhetoric being slung around. But be careful. Your kids are watching you.

No matter what you think about the current, former or future occupants of the White House, demeaning the office of the president is dangerous. Getting caught up in the polarization and political mud-slinging hurts not just our country but our kids. Raising kids who are unable to have a rational discourse about the direction of our country may well be one of the most harmful things we’ve done for our country.

It seems as if we’ve forgotten that God’s admonitions about words apply to political discourse as well. We think it’s OK to demean the members of the other party. We think it’s OK to say disrespectful things about the president. We think it’s acceptable to sling words of hate when it comes to politics.

But it’s not. And when we do it, we teach our kids that we don’t respect the office of president, and neither should they. That’s not what God wants. No matter how much we disagree with someone else’s views, God doesn’t ever condone disrespect and hate.

Romans 13:1 says “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” And that’s followed by Romans 13:7, which says “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

We don’t have to like everything our government does. We don’t even have to like the people who are part of our government, but we do have to acknowledge their authority and offer them the respect due the office in which they sit. Just because we’re talking about politics, it doesn’t exempt us from the words of Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Most of the political conversation that I hear these days won’t stand up to the standards of Romans 13 and Ephesians 4:29. And that tells our kids two things: 1. that it’s OK to have no respect for the office of president and 2. that God’s commands don’t apply to politics. Neither of those are true, and neither are things I want my kids to learn.

So, my plea to you this political season is think before you speak. Keep in mind that even if you don’t like the candidate, the office deserves your respect. Remember the standards of Ephesians 4:29 apply to political discussions as well. If we can do that, we just might tone down some of the hateful rhetoric and teach our kids how to have a reasonable debate about the issues facing our country.

Linking up today with The Better Mom and Graceful.

3 Responses to Navigating the Political Melee

  1. Mary Beth

    It is interesting that we find it acceptable to say horrible things about or leaders. It’s as if we forget they are real people. Great reminder for the coming months! Thank you!

  2. Becca

    This was rather convicting. I don’t have kids, but it is so true that we really can’t go around speaking down on political leaders, because God never says it is okay. While we have a chance to vote and stand against the politicians who are clearly dishonoring God, we are also to love our enemies. Hard to live by, yet God says to do it… Rather than putting down our politicians, it is important to teach others about values and how to support or not support candidates who have the same values we do. Thanks for the reminder!
    Found your post via Hear it on Sunday Use it on Monday.

  3. Matt

    Thanks for this thoughtful post Lori, it’s good to know that not everyone leaves their brains at the door when it comes to christian discourse on the subject of politics. The impression that we get overseas is that things are entirely polarized in the US on political grounds, and that religion/faith adds to the overall melee by stirring things up rather than being the voice of love and hope. We have seen how that goes with the Troubles in Ireland between North and South, protestant and catholic, and wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians recently (another of Paul’s) and was struck by where he wrote: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” 1v25 When the Jews and Greeks went for lengthy arguments and discourse rhetoric and debate, Paul simply took it back to God’s love as the simplest message of all. I pray that your country has the right man come the end of election night who can see beyond the petty hate and distrust and lead people in truth and justice. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it and they deserve our utmost respect for standing up and being counted for what they believe is right.

    Thanks for being brave with the line you took in your post too.

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