I hate politics BUT I love my country.
Have you found yourself saying this to yourself lately? If so, you are not alone. Many, many people have taken to social media to express their frustration over the government; some going overboard by threatening to destroy the careers of certain politicians. One has to wonder if those who accuse their leaders of destroying the Filipino people fall into the same accusation themselves by destroying their leaders!
With all the discussion and emotional hype brought in by politics, we need to go back to what is important. We need to return to Scripture.
Government authorities were established by God.
Romans 13:1-3 is very clear: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.”
When leaders are inspiring, morally upright, and gentle in speech, it is easy to be submissive to them. Unfortunately, in the Philippines, this is not the case. We have leaders who are offensive in language and action; some whose own personal records show lawbreaking.
And so we come to the greater debate: If authority does wrong, should Christians stay silent? If we are silent, are we allowing evil to succeed? Shouldn’t we be the light of the earth and EXPOSE darkness?
We can submit to authority while at the same time, call for change.
This is where I’d like for us to see that BOTH can happen. We can still be submissive and recognize the authority God has set up, while respectfully calling for change. What is extremely crucial is where our hearts are positioned. Remember: from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
One of my sisters-in-law, Airenne, pointed out a very important concern when it came to what we say or post on social media to air out a concern: “Do we say what we say because we are critical of people, or do we say what we say out of love for our country?”
I shall go the extra mile with this question: “Can we say what we say with deep respect for the person in position—even when we disagree or dislike him/her?”
We can raise issues of concern, but it is crucial we show honor to those in authority while doing this. Why? Because based on Romans 13, God put them there. Also, let’s ask ourselves: What are we doing to help society? Are we “helping” society by blatantly disrespecting and trolling our government officials? Why should our leaders listen to us if all we do is dishonor, curse, and tear them down? Let’s look for ways to honor and engage them in a constructive manner.
We can win God’s way.
In the book, Winning God’s Way1, Loren Cunningham relates how a pastor was so angry at Hitler (Hitler had already been dead, but not dead in the pastor’s heart). The Holy Spirit convicted this pastor of personal bitterness and unforgiveness toward Hitler, especially since these were causing hardness and insensitivity in the pastor’s heart. While listening to the story, Loren Cunningham knew he was just as guilty as the pastor. Cunningham (the man who started Youth with a Mission; a man undoubtedly possessing a heart for the nations), had been harboring resentment toward one of China’s leaders. He knew he had to forgive Mao Tse Tung because of Mao’s brutality and persecution of the Christian Chinese.
Of this, Cunningham says:
“I had prayed for Mao before, but my prayers had always lacked real conviction. Now as I really forgave him, I found I could weep and pray for Mao as if he were a dear member of my family who was lost without God.
“The Bible says, ‘The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ (James 5:16b KJV). You cannot release the power of God through prayer if you don’t’ have the heart of God.
“In order to pray effectively, we must pray with God’s Spirit—with His heart attitude towards individuals and situations. Only when we pray with forgiving spirits will we see Jesus answer our prayers.”
Do we pray for our leaders? Do we pray for our nation? Do we pray with the heart of Jesus?
We can pray for righteousness to enter our nation.
I find Psalm 24 very revealing. There is a way of climbing up the hill of the Lord (the place of judgment and authority) to be able to usher in the coming of Jesus into areas that need His Presence. “Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in” (Verse 7). There are dark areas in this world (cities and nations) where we can declare the coming of Jesus, He Who is mighty in battle—His Kingship, His Deliverance, His Revival Power. But we do this “with clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4)—and yes, I daresay, especially in relation to our leaders.
We can become lightbearers in the darkness.
A challenge I can leave you with is this: Have we spent time praying for our leaders? Or do we spend more time bashing them on the internet? Remember, prayer is very powerful. What we can’t do in the natural, God can do.
Again, we can do our part to call for change and point out areas of improvement in government, but let’s watch how we do it. Let’s watch how we say things. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
Let us be people whom God can count on to speak life. Let’s join His side of intercession. If we want to be effective in the world, our own hearts should not be dimmed with the darkness of bitterness, vindictiveness, or unforgiveness.
This is our finest hour. Let’s love our country well.
1Cunningham, Loren. Winning God’s Way. Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1988.
Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.