Authority Comes From Above

In the wake of Barack Obama’s election, I’ve heard disquieting reports in the small town where I live.

I’ve encountered Christians certain Obama is the Antichrist. They’re not joking. They truly believe that when Obama takes office, it heralds the end of the world.

And I was told of a local man who was forced from his job because his bosses discovered he’d voted for Obama. I’m familiar with the family-run company where he was employed. I’m pretty sure the owners are evangelical Christians.

I don’t imagine these incidents are isolated, here or in the nation-at-large. Many Christians are Rush Limbaugh Republicans; to them, Obama is the devil’s spawn.

Other Christians, however, are yellow-dog Democrats, who think George W. Bush represented evil incarnate. Despite their ecstasy about Obama’s election, they’re already terrified the Republicans will finagle Sarah Palin into the White House in 2012.

It’s time for Christians of all persuasions to take a series of deep breaths and calm down. God’s in control of planet Earth, OK? Always has been. Always will be.

St. Paul lived in a far more troubled society than ours, one governed by a brutal, corrupt, occupation government. Paul and his fellow Christians were imprisoned, tortured and even executed for their faith.

Still, Paul wrote: “Obey the government, for God is the one who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God …” (Romans 13:1-2, New Living Translation).

Elsewhere, Paul instructed Christians to pray for those who held temporal power. He didn’t say to pray against them, but to pray for them. And Jesus himself told Pilate, who was about to send him to the cross, that Pilate had no authority over him except that which had been granted him from above.

My view is, I’m allowed by God and the U.S. constitution to vote for whoever I wish. Sometimes my candidate wins. Sometimes my candidate loses.

But ultimately, whoever wins has been placed in office by the Lord, for reasons only the Lord may understand. God sees the big picture; he’s privy to information I don’t have. It’s my job to respect governmental leaders despite their flaws. It’s my job to pray blessings on them. Otherwise, I’m disrespecting the One who put them there.

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