Do you think Christians should get involved in political debates on Facebook?
I have seen some very nasty comments on Facebook about political candidates who are running for office, particularly for President. Many of these posts are harsh, unfair, and highly critical. Even if there may be some truth to it, is this something God would have us do? I’m not sure He would approve, at least not from the many posts I’ve read. It’s easy to get sucked into it, so I decided to stop commenting about these posts, which are oftentimes very brutal. If I click “like,” then I’m condoning or approving what’s been posted. I found out long ago that God’s not a democrat, a republican, or an independent. God is God and He rules the universe. We shouldn’t be making railing accusations about a candidate or saying things that are nasty or derogatory. We end up bashing the person instead of focusing on the issues. It’s very popular these days to post negative comments and even take their words out of context. Some even go so far as to make it their purpose to make them look like a fool. What does God say about those who are in positions of authority and power, and what should our relationship with them be? How should we respond to someone we don’t want to vote for?
Not Speaking Evil About Leaders
There are no leaders anywhere that I know of that are perfect, except God. Even though they’re far from perfect, we’re commanded not to speak evil of them. This was commanded in the Old Testament, where it says, “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:28). It didn’t say don’t curse a ruler of your people if they’re a bad ruler or evil. This law doesn’t come with a qualifier. God is their judge. And even though we have the power to vote–and we should–God will judge them on the day that He appoints. Even the Apostle Paul acknowledged this law was still in effect, saying, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people” (Acts 23:5). King Solomon wrote, “In your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known” (Ecclesiastes 10:20). Those who grumbled against Moses in the wilderness were seen as grumbling against God, which didn’t end well for them.
Praying for Leaders
What does the Bible say about how we are to respond to leaders? The Apostle Paul clearly says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1). “All people” surely includes those in authority. Further, Paul writes regarding “all people” that all “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 2:1b-2). Those prayers included prayers for the king, and the king at that time was anything but good. Even so, praying that we have a peaceful society is praying for a society in which we can peacefully share the Gospel. So praying for “all people” those in authority because “this is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:3).
What About Ungodly Rulers?
Should we also be praying for those leaders who are not godly at all? I would ask, don’t they need it more? If so, what should we pray for? How about praying that they might be saved and come to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and put their trust in Him. We can also pray that they might follow godly principles in their position of authority and that we continue to have the freedom to preach the Gospel in a society where laws protect the citizens’ rights to do so. God has placed each person in authority as it has pleased Him, not us. In a few cases, as with ancient Israel, God gave them evil kings as part of His judgment upon the nation. Maybe that’s what God is doing now. Paul gives an imperative command to “let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1), for “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:2). And remember that this was written to Christians who were living in Rome at the time and under a very evil ruler (Caesar). Whoever the pharaoh, king, dictator, or president is, remember that they are “God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). Since we’re commanded to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), why not pray for those in authority, good or bad, and not profane their name in public (like on Facebook)?
Being Salt and Light
Jesus told the disciples to let their speech be seasoned with salt, meaning our words should be pleasing, enhance the conversation around us (like salt enhances flavor), and act as a preserving agent (which salt does). Paul writes, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:6), and “let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). I doubt very much if our words of support of “our candidate” would be taken wrong. But when we attack the other candidate by rude comments, we are not being godly because “when [Jesus] was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). Never did He respond in kind manner to anyone or spoke evil of any ruler. That is not “building up” but tearing down. We should speak or post things on social media so “that it may give grace to those that hear.” To post debasing and derogatory remarks about certain political candidates doesn’t help unify but actually divides. Jesus never rebuked Caesar or the local kings in His day. He knew that even evil rulers can be used by God. All we need to do is to look at the cross for proof of that (John 3:16).
I hope I can persuade many of my friends to stop posting inflammatory comments about political candidates. Why not instead say, “I am voting for such and such” and not “The other one’s an idiot.” I’ve read comments like this by professing Christians. I think we can be sure that God does not “like” it. If we are to be salt and light, we should be praying for all men and women everywhere, especially those in authority. They don’t have it easy at all and are under great pressure. They could use our prayers rather than read our scathing comments. That’s not how a godly man or woman should speak or post.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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