How do you feel about President Obama?
What I see online and on Facebook: scumbag, ass, imbecile, idiot, complete moron, #$%^& traitor, etc.
Sometimes Christian conservatives repost what others say. Regardless if it’s a repost or something original, is this appropriate for Christians conservatives? I am a long-time conservative. I believe in free enterprise, free markets, free speech, free association, original intent of the constitution, and compassionate conservatism. This means that I have strongly negative feelings about where President Obama is leading our nation. But I know that regardless of what President Obama is doing, no matter how bad I feel it may be, there are two things I must always remember: Respect and honor.
Peter, writing from Rome was under the authority of one of Rome’s worst emperors, Nero. In fact, it was within 2-4 years of Peter writing his epistle that Nero would burn Rome, affix blame on the Christians, and launch a terrible persecution of Christians in the empire that included burning live Christians on crosses to light his court yard at night. The Holy Spirit knew that this would happen and yet knowing this in advance he inspired Peter to write these words: “Honor the emperor” (I Peter 2:17). Certainly Obama is better than Nero and his position deserves honor.
The scripture says that we must “Honor the emperor.” But many Christians say we must honor the office but we don’t have to honor the person who holds the office. But this is plain wrong. Peter didn’t say to honor the emperor’s office or authority. He charges us to honor the person who is the emperor. I’ve watched live coverage of President Obama awarding medals to retired soldiers who fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The majority of military personnel are not Obama supporters. Yet when have we seen a soldier being decorated disrespect the man decorating them? Never. Why? Because they understand the principle behind honoring those in authority above you.
In fact, much of Peter’s epistle is about honoring all kinds of authority and using authority honorably.
David never sought Saul’s throne, threatened him, or publicly disrespected him even though Saul was searching for David in order to kill him. If David could give honor and respect to the man who was out to murder him, how much more should we, as Christians, properly honor the president who seeks to do less harm to us than Saul did to David? If you view Obama as your enemy, should you not therefore love him (Matthew 5)?
My favorite song lyric comes from the 1988 Steve Camp song, Justice. It says, “The cross waves higher than the flag.” As Christians, our obedience and loyalty to Christ and the Bible must always supersede any and all political affiliations or ideology. This means that the demands placed upon our character as Christians must supersede and transcend our political views or commitments. It matters to God that we have right attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors more than expressing our outrage about a politician lying to us or destroying what we hold dear.
And no matter who wins this election, Trump or Hillary, the same principles apply.