Should True Christians Insult Their Governments’ Leaders?
Eric Snow, Sermonette, 2-14-09, Detroit, MI, UCG
Should true Christians pray for Barack Obama because he’s now the president? Of course, Christians may have liked the positions of George W. Bush more, such as about abortion. So then, should Christians have prayed more for George W. Bush than they will for Obama? Because we may disagree with him more, are we allowed to insult and to condemn Obama personally more than Bush? In general, does God allow Christians to ridicule and to insult their nations’ political leaders without restraint?
Although Christians may believe the beliefs, policies, and/or personal lifestyle of their governments’ leaders are wrong, we should avoid constantly, casually insulting them.
So today my main point is that [S.P.S.]: God tells true Christians to generally respect, honor, and pray for their governments’ leaders even when they have immoral beliefs, policies, and lifestyles.
During and after the elections last year, many people in the Church of God had strong feelings about who won and why. However, that doesn’t mean we have the right to insult and ridicule personally our new national leaders. It’s fine to say this or that policy or law might be wrong based on what the Bible says. We should also obey the laws that they pass that don’t contradict God’s laws.
1. That leads me to my first point of three points: We should learn to avoid almost all personal attacks on the president, governors, senators, etc.
Paul was punished, then insulted the high priest back in retaliation, but then admitted his error. “Curse” is the word for “speak evil” in the Old Testament original.
Practical application: The past junior senator from New York and the present secretary of state should not be insulted as a “witch” or by a word that rhymes with it that starts with a “b.” Similarly, do we feel the need to make sex jokes about her husband’s behavior each time we mention his name? Suppose we have family members, friends, and/or co-workers who were living sexually immoral lives or had other deep moral flaws. Do we feel compelled to say something about their sins or character flaws every time we mention their names to others? Or do we normally say nothing about those problems unless some direct, huge issue relevant to their bad behavior comes up.
2. My second point today is: We should be willing to pray for governmental leaders even when we disagree with their beliefs, policies and/or their personal lifestyles.
I Timothy 2:1-2
Keep in mind Paul wrote this when Nero was emperor. This man lived a terrible personal lifestyle. Among other actions, he had his own mother murdered. He also had his first wife murdered after he fell in love with another man’s wife. In 64 A.D., He also had Christians killed as scapegoats after the fire that burned down much of Rome was blamed on him. Indeed, this government imprisoned and years later killed Paul as well. Yet Paul said Christians should obey it and honor its officials! By comparison with Nero’s record, the personal scandals relating to Bill Clinton’s behavior while president and the governor of Arkansas are trivialities.
3. My third point today is that: We have to maintain a balance between respecting governmental leaders personally while disagreeing with their policies publicly when necessary.
Nebuchadnezzar was about to try to kill Daniel’s three friends, but they didn’t insult him personally. Key point: They stood firm on principles, but treated the king respectfully.
Similarly, think about how Jesus dealt with Pontius Pilate, Herod, and the Sanhedrin when on trial during the last day of His life: Although the legal proceedings were totally unfair, He didn’t insult personally any of the men involved. Shouldn’t we then walk in His footsteps?
Christians need to find the right balance between respecting our human governments’ laws and leaders and preaching an undiluted Gospel and warning message to the world. In Canada already, free speech has largely ended when it comes to strong public criticisms of the gay lifestyle and radical Islam. They call the truth “hate speech.” We should pray that under President Obama that similar laws won’t be passed by Congress, or state and local governments, and then upheld by the courts.
Jeremiah vs. Zedekiah over obeying Babylon’s government (Jer. 32:2-5): Policy dispute over surrendering to Babylon, but also said the king would be captured. John the Baptist vs. Herod’s marriage of Herodias and his other sins (Luke 3:19). Both got imprisoned for criticizing their governmental leaders. Hence, we shouldn’t think that we should never criticize our government leaders’ immoral actions or bad policies. Here we need to have some balance. But constantly insulting our national leaders is obviously wrong also.
We should pray our national governments granting us an open door to preach the Gospel. It could close some with “hate speech” laws that ban criticisms of radical Islam and the gay lifestyle. Would we have the bravery to preach the Gospel undiluted, just as we do now, if the American government banned criticisms of either group?
So in conclusion: Under most circumstances, true Christians should avoid insulting the leaders of our human governments. We need to have a balance in respecting and honoring the leaders of our nations while also preaching an undiluted Gospel that may anger them when it contradicts their beliefs and their laws. So let’s learn to avoid making casual personal insults about our nations’ leaders, even when they make laws that are wrong.