I have the honor of having Jon Stolpe GUEST POST! Jon humbles and inspires me with his servants heart. He is someone who actually "practices what he preaches". He is passionate about small groups, missions, family, marriage, parenting, and Philadelphia sports. Jon is also a writer and blogs daily at Jon Stolpe Stretched. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife, Leanne, and their two kids. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or his blog.
I’ve always had an interest in politics. We are so blessed to live in a country where we can take part in the selection process for our local, state, and national leaders. Voting is a right, a privilege and a responsibility.
Free speech is also one of the rights that we have in this country. Free speech gives us permission to defend our position on an issue or on a candidate. I’m thankful for this right. But I sometimes wonder if this right has gotten our country into trouble.
With the creation and rise of social media, everyone has a say. People’s thoughts and opinions are out there for everyone to read. Once it’s on Facebook or Twitter or once it’s published on a blog, it’s a permanent record for all to read. And it seems like everyone has something to say.
Maybe I’m forgetful of past election cycles, but it seems to be that more and more people are posting personal character attacks on Facebook and other social media outlets. Photo-shopped photos of candidates with disrespectful comments dominate my Facebook news feed. To be honest with you, it’s wearing me out. I wasn’t comfortable when friends and family attacked former president George W. Bush, and I’m not comfortable with the attacks on current president Barack Obama.
Sure, it’s okay to disagree with policies, budgets, and agendas of our leaders. But it needs to be done with respect. The other day, I was reading the Bible and a passage from Ecclesiastes stuck out to me:
Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say. Ecclesiastes 10:20
Today, it just doesn’t seem like people care about reviling or respecting our leaders. So how should we as Christians respond responsibly and respectfully?
1. Pray for our leaders. Whether or not you agree with a particular political leader, we should pray for our leaders. Paul directs this in his letter to the Phillipians:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. Philippians 2:1-2
2. Don’t participate in the disrespect. Don’t add fuel to the social media fire by being disrespectful in your posts, comments, or conversations. In our country where free speech is our right, dialogue intelligently and respectfully with each other.
3. Vote. This is your right, responsibility and duty. Let your voice be heard through your vote.
4. Win, lose, or draw, live your life in a Christ-like manner. Whether “your” candidate wins or not, you have the opportunity to make a difference by how you choose to live your life. If you feel strongly about an issue like helping the poor, get involved by helping the poor. We don’t need our candidate in office in order for us to make a difference. We can make the most of each and every opportunity, and we can do so with respect. And we can still choose to love those who lead us and who debate with us – even if they disagree with us. (John 15:17)
What other suggestions do you have for Christians to participate responsibly and respectfully in the political process? Are you being respectful or are you adding to the clutter?