Vote for Scott
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
I wouldn’t say I’m an extrovert, but on Sunday mornings when we leave church, I always say hi to several people. My kids find this amusing/annoying and continually threaten to launch an unauthorized proxy-campaign trying to get me elected as mayor of our small town. Vote for Scott – they say mockingly, as I visit with friends. They know I despise the idea and so, they tease me with it.
The funny thing is, there was a time when I thought that I would end up in politics. I don’t know what I was thinking. Now I’ve become cynical enough that I can’t imagine being part of that world. Watching the hypocrisy of top level politics has made me despise specific people on both sides. When I think about it, I do harbor significant animosity and hostility towards these individuals. I certainly don’t hope good things for them.
In today’s passage though, Paul instructed his audience to pray for everyone, including kings and all who are in high positions. Paul’s listeners would not have seen the ruling Romans as being in their political party, yet he insisted that, as Christians, they pray for their political leaders. They were to do this that they may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
This is probably to be interpreted that as Christians we’re supposed to pray for our leaders that they would make good decisions leading to a peaceful, quiet, and dignified life for us. Another interpretation though, is that praying for those – even those we despise – does something to change us. My wife is fond of saying that prayer doesn’t transform God but rather transforms us. In this specific case, it may be that Paul instructed us to pray for our political enemies that we may experience a change of heart.
We do have good people in politics, but the higher up you go in the political arena, the more vitriolic it is. In this combative environment, the other side is an enemy, embodying everything that’s evil. In this view, it becomes easy to hate everyone belonging to a different party, which is distinctly not Christlike. It’s much harder to hate someone for whom you’re daily praying though. As we pray for them, even thanking God for them, we may come to see them differently. We may disagree passionately, but as Christians, we’re not to hate others for God. He never asks us to do that. Rather, we’re to love and pray for everyone – Democrats and Republicans.