Let’s Go (to Church) Brandon
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:13
I don’t love to write about politics. It’s a divisive topic, and though I believe my political views should absolutely be impacted by my faith, I don’t want my politics to repel others from faith. My cause is Christ. That’s all. The purpose of my life and my blog is to point others to faith and recovery. Endorsing one political view could easily repel half my audience. For better or worse though, today’s passage is about politics. Sigh . . . Here goes.
In the passage, Peter admonished his audience to submit themselves to, and show respect for, the Roman government, emperor, and governor. The Bible does, in other places, make a case for civil disobedience when the government opposes God’s will. But Peter said that, in general, as Christians we must obey the government’s laws, respecting our leaders – even if we didn’t vote for them. The Jewish people of the first century didn’t choose or support the Roman government, but rather saw them as oppressors. Still, Peter said, they were to obey, so that in doing good, they would not give their adversaries any reason to criticize them.
I’m sure that every generation feels that common decency and respect have gone away in politics, but it certainly seems that things have gotten much worse over the last five or ten years. I now regularly see people – whom I know to profess faith in Christ – sporting Let’s Go Brandon stickers on their vehicles. Usually also emblazoned on such stickers are the letters FJB which, if you don’t know, means something I won’t print here (you’re welcome mom).
If that bumper sticker shows up in my church’s parking lot, what message does it send? Democrats are not welcome here. F*** you. How would Republicans feel if the same message was directed at them? Would you want to participate in a faith that was associated with such hateful and vile sentiments toward you?
Our faith can and should affect our world view. When however, we equate our political affiliation with our faith in God, we find it easy to hate in his name, which is something Christ never did and something which he never asks us to do. Our ultimate faith isn’t in the power and politics of man to change the world, but rather in the transforming power of Christ. As Christians, our lives must point others to him. Being obedient to and showing respect for our leaders – even the ones we didn’t vote for – is essential to that purpose.