David Barton made this comment recently. "Respect the Office...Yes. Respect the man in the office...No I am sorry to say."
I was pondering this today, as I prepare to preach on Hebrews 13:7 - 17. Is this really what God wants us to do when it comes to our elected officials - respect the office not the man. Why don't we also apply that to the church - respect the office of elder but the man. Respect the office of deacon but not the man. What is the determining factor in who we respect and don't? If we simply don't like their decision, don't like their personality, don't like their hair? Do we stand in opposition to governmental authorities because they are antagonistic to God or simply because they are sinners? Obama is a sinner...but so I am I.
Romans 13 says that the authorities have been placed their by God. Not just the office but the man. God knows what He is doing (even though at times I think I know better...I don't). Did Paul respect the office or the man when we went before Agrippa or the leaders of Rome. Titus 3:1 Remind us to be submissive to rulers and authorities and to speak evil of no one (including Obama right?). He then gives us our motivation...because we were once like them...LOST.
I understand the frustration directed at our government. I am not pleased with the policies, decisions and directions of our president. But I have been convicted today as I read a statement that I probably used to say. A statement that made me feel (self) righteous. A statement that many Christians today are saying AMEN to. I am just not sure that it measures up to scripture.
Remember, our conflict is not against flesh and blood but against principalities of darkness. Respecting the man (and the office) does not mean we agree with everything the man does. It does not mean that we set aside our convictions. It does not mean that we are sellouts. What does it mean - that as I we respect and submit to him, we are demonstrating our submission to a much higher authority. A higher authority that one day even a president of the United States will bow to in honor. Only then, we won't be up in arms at the homage paid to a world leader. We will rejoice that every knee (including Obama) is bowing to the feet of King Jesus.