We elevate leaders and those in authority to a very high standard. It makes sense - we are looking to them for direction and guidance, and trusting them with the decisions of our collective organization. The larger the collective body of people, the heavier their responsibility weighs.
So when leaders don't act like leaders - that is, they don't live up to the moral compass we point for them, or they behave in ways we disapprove of, or perhaps they make decisions that do not reflect our best interests, how do we best respond?
When our current president was elected I was disappointed, along with half of my country. That number has now increased to almost 70%, as his approval rating drops to a little over 30%. And it would be easy to sit here and make remarks like, "I told you so". Because half of us tried.
But it wasn't ever about the actual president, was it? No, there were deeper divisions based on our upbringing, our political views, our religious views, maybe even our race?
Yet here we are, under the authority and leadership of this man for the next three years. How do we as Christians respond?
2 Timothy 2:1-2 says: "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." (NASB, emphasis mine).
Paul is asking us to include those in authority in our prayers and requests to God, because in doing so we create peace and quietness in our own life. This does not mean that it will create peace and quietness in our political world. But it begins with us, right? We don't have to be caught up in the Facebook arguments and anxious articles and general stress that the rest of our country is in. Instead, we are invited to pray for those in leadership, and find tranquility in the God who is sovereign over all.
Later in that passage Paul also reminds us that "there is one God, and one mediator also between God and man, the man Christ Jesus" (v. 5). We will all respond to the One True Judge. And we won't be able to mediate that interaction between our loved ones, our enemies, or our leaders. It will just be each of us, standing alone before the King of the Universe. And what happens there, I don't know. But there is a certain comfort to knowing that I don't have to be consumed with making everything just and right. The Creator of justice itself has everything under control.
If the political reality is weighing heavy on your heart and soul today, rest in this: there is a true King who is sovereign over the messes we make and the leaders we elect. None of this is a surprise to Him.