LISTEN TO EP.95
Should You Support Leaders You Didn’t Vote For?
What is your immediate reaction when you hear news about leaders on the “other side of the aisle”? Disdain, anger, empathy? Like President Trump, the Biden Administration has been very polarizing to our Nation, creating trenches of division fueled by mockery and plain hate. We as Christians face a difficult decision as we weigh honor with speaking up against immoral decisions by governors, school boards, and Congress. Many look to President Biden’s recent decisions around expanding access to medication abortions in response to the overturning of Roe v Wade, strict directives around transgender policy at federally funded institutions, domestic oil drilling and gas prices, COVID-19 politics, and more as reason enough to write him off, waiting impatiently for a change during the midterm elections in November and 2024. Scott Young, co-host of The Influencers Podcast and Lead Pastor of Church of Hope in Sarasota, FL, shares his thoughts on praying for leaders we didn’t vote for and gives context to the societal pressures faced by the early church and compares them to what we face today. Unpacking 1 Timothy 2, he reveals why it’s important to ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and thank God for them. We have to ask ourselves, do our thoughts and conversations around politics follow the mandate of Scripture or the emotions of culture?
How Do These Names Make You Feel?
Hey, my friend Scott Young here, and you know names, produce feelings. When you hear the name of somebody that you really love have a great relationship with. It produces a, a feeling in your heart. So when I say the following names, what kind of emotion strikes you here are the names: President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden. These have been presidents that have been my presidents. Many of you that are listening probably had the great fortune or blessing of being born an American. I was born in another country. And so I am an immigrant, got very patriotic during 9-11 and took the steps, studied the coursework, understood American government and became a citizen. I was sworn in as a citizen on July the fourth. That was a great day, July the fourth, 2005. And the presidents that I just mentioned, they have been my presidents starting from George W. Bush. And now my current president, Joe Biden. Now as an American, how do I react when a president that I have voted for, or that I haven’t voted for does something that, you know, it’s not something I would do takes a position that I wouldn’t agree on.
Do I get mad? Do I get angry? In fact, I’ve talked to people about various presidents that we’ve just mentioned, and some of them have visceral angry reactions to just their presidency. Is that my position? What happens when a Congress person, when a Senator or when a president makes a choice, makes a decision, takes a position that is not one that I would take, well, do I have a right to get angry, upset? What’s the proper thing for me to do. What’s the truth that would help me in this moment. Well, of course, when we look for truth, I look into God’s word, the scriptures, and here is what God’s word says to us. Paul is writing on the topic. We’re talking about, what do I do when a president does something I don’t agree with when a political leader does something I don’t agree with.
The Biblical Response
Well, as we read in second Timothy or first Timothy chapter two, Paul says, I urge you. First of all, which means it’s important of first I importance. First of all, it’s important that you pray for all people. That’s good advice right there to pray for all people. And then he tells us how we should pray. This is a great way to pray for all. People ask God to help them. Number one, number two, intercede on their behalf. They may not be praying. They may not be seeking wisdom, but you should pray on their behalf. And number three, you should give thanks for them. So ask God to help them intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Verse two, pray this way for Kings. Well, we don’t have a monarchy. We have a constitutional Republic. We are have de democratically chosen leaders that represent us.
So we’re not a monarchy. We don’t have a king, but then he goes on to say, and all those who are in authority, that includes our governmental leaders. And he’s talking about government. That’s why he’s gone into the world of King’s rulers authority. So all who are in authority would be all those who are in authority, including those presidents, that we’ve already mentioned. The presidents that have been my presidents while I have been a citizen, pray for them, ask God to help them intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. We do this. Here’s what the scripture says so that we can live peacefully and quietly. There’s something about praying for those who are in authority that brings peace into our land. So that’s an important truth lives that will be marked with godliness and dignity. Verse three, this is good. And it pleases God, our savior, verse four, listen to this, this God who is our savior, wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth, get the connection.
So somehow praying for presidents, even the ones we didn’t vote for helps to bring peace, helps to bring an atmosphere where people can come into the kingdom of God. Think about that and a place where people get to understand the truth. So I didn’t vote for all of those presidents that I listed. I it’s highly unlikely that you voted for all of them. And it’s even more highly unlikely that they, every decision they have made has been one you agree with. So what do I do when I’m a strong pro-life person? I believe that life and eternal life are the greatest gifts. You can’t have eternal life till you have life, but when you have life, you have the opportunity for eternal life. I just support pro-life positions. What do I do? When a president takes a position that’s pro-abortion do I have a bitterness in my heart towards him? Do I get so angry that I stop praying?
What do I do? Well, the scripture says there’s no qualifier. If they do the things you think they do, if they are a godly authority, if they’re a godly king, just think about the, the government that was in place during the time of Jesus. And during the time of the early apostles, not always righteous, the Caesars who were the ultimate political authority, Jesus was born, of course, under Caesar Augustus. Augustus was a title given to that Caesar because he was the August one. He was to be revered. In fact, they, they said he was more than human, that there was a divinity in him. Now of all the presidents I mentioned, and of all the presidents we’ve ever had, we haven’t had of any, any that have claimed to be divine in their being in who they were, but Caesar Augustus. That’s where Jesus was born under his authority. About midway, when Jesus was about an early teenager Tiberius became the Caesar and he was the Caesar and it would’ve been under his authority that Christ would’ve been crucified. He was crucified on a Roman cross. Tiberius would’ve been the ultimate authority when Jesus was crucified. Following Tiberius was Caligula.
He was a mess. He had affairs reportedly with both women and men. He turned the palace into a brothel. He was claimed or reported to be insane and sexually perverse. And Paul would’ve known about Caligula when he writes in first Timothy two, pray for those who are in authority, even when you don’t agree with them, even when they act in a worldly way, because they are worldly leaders. Following Caligula was Nero. Well, when Rome burned he blamed the Christians, he would’ve been in charge when both Peter and Paul were put to death in Rome, these leaders were not godly leaders. They were worldly leaders. In fact on Roman coins was stamped the insignia or the words “Caesar is Lord.” So I would say that in the time of Jesus and the early apostles, that government was even more a mess than we have ever seen. And yet the scriptures, the truth encourages us to pray, pray that God will help these leaders intercede for them. Even when they make ungodly choices. I’m a pro-life person. So what happens when a president takes an abortion stance? Do I stop praying? No, I pray so that there will be the most important atmosphere created the atmosphere for salvation, the atmosphere that brings people into the kingdom of God, because more than being politically correct, I need to be in line with God’s truth. That helps to set people free.
The Early Church’s Example
So in the early church, they teach us, pray for your leaders, even if they’re not godly. And they never even had a chance to vote for their Caesar that ruled over Jesus and the early apostles, we at least have an ability. If we disagree, thank God for freedom of speech, we can make our speech known. I make my position known. I’m unashamedly pro-life. And I talk about that and I can do that. But then at the end of the day, pray for your president, even if you didn’t vote for them. So that as first Peter says, it will be good and pleasing to God, our savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth, we need to create an atmosphere for people to come into the family of God, from whatever background, and to understand the truth. And that’s the most important thing, very little complaint in the scripture, or from scriptural writers about these ungodly leaders, you don’t see protests, you see prayer meetings and prayer meetings change the world. So we ask God to help. We intercede and we give thanks for them. Even when we disagree with them, pray for your president, even if you didn’t vote for him. Think about that. I’m Scott Young, and this is The Influencers Podcast.