04 November 2008

Who am I to judge Caesar?

In a few hours, we will know who the next President of the United States will be.

Like many other Americans, I have been exceedingly judgmental of the candidates. It is a peculiarity of a representative democracy that each citizen is, in fact, required to judge their (potential) leaders.

Does that mean we should be judgmental?

The Apostles wrote at a time when the Church was experiencing intense persecution from the governing authorities in both Jerusalem and Rome. And yet they wrote:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Rom 13:1, NIV)

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. (Heb 13:17)

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1Pet 2:13-14)

Likewise, we are taught:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Mt 7:1-2)

It is one thing to measure the strengths and weaknesses of candidates against one other to decide between them. It is quite another to condemn them as human beings, or to withhold your support for them in their elected office.

We are blessed with a nation where we have some say in deciding who leads us. Let us also remember to pray for our leaders, and support them, regardless of how we might feel about their character or their policies – especially those of us who are inclined to be judgmental.

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