Author: Zach Goodrow
In a time where pithy, thoughtless one-liners win debates, our culture has gotten quite good at insulting someone in 140 characters or less. Not only are we good at it, but we also enjoy it, as evidenced by the viral uproars of #NotMyPresident from the left and #Let’sGoBrandon from the right.
Because our political climate is so tumultuous, and because Christians have always lived in tumultuous climates, Christians today need to know how to anchor ourselves firmly on the Word of God for direction and clarity.
“As Christians, it is right for us to honestly and gracefully criticize our government, especially when said governments act outside of their jurisdiction”
As Christians, it is right for us to honestly and gracefully criticize our government, especially when said governments act outside of their jurisdiction (Rom. 13:3-4). We are to use the standard of Grace and Truth in order to critique with grace and truth.
However, it is not right for us to criticize our government with no other cause than “the other side” is in charge or to criticize without grace. We are called to use the Scripture as our scalpel for the surgery of criticism whenever we come against anyone.
So what does the Scripture say? In case it’s not clear, 1 Peter does not say “Fear God and Let’s Go Brandon” (as if Scripture were written by the Conservative party platform of 2022). What it does say is, “fear God and honor the emperor”.
“If Peter said we should honor that man, I do not think that we should take it upon ourselves to dishonor the man who made gas prices double.”
Which means, it is not right for Christians to say “Let’s Go Brandon”, particularly because it is the not-so-subtle stand for an even less godly phrase. In no way is saying a euphemism for “F— Joe Biden”, “honoring the emperor”. And in case there are any brothers and sisters who would argue that Joe Biden is deserving of such criticism, I would argue that whatever Joe Biden does, he is no Nero. The emperor that Peter (and ultimately the Holy Spirit) commanded the original readers to honor was the same emperor who would light his orgies with the bodies of burning Christians He was the same emperor that eventually put Peter to death. If Peter said we should honor that man, I do not think that we should take it upon ourselves to dishonor the man who made gas prices double.
“The way we stand up and speak out matters.”
Again, that does not mean that we are to sit back quietly with our mouths closed and be good little boys and girls. As Christians we must stand up and speak out anytime the government steps out of its God-given bounds. We must defy the government when it produces positions contrary to Scripture on slavery, abortion, fair trade, free speech, mandating medical procedures, homosexuality, and the ever encroaching “boys will be girls” tidal wave. But the way we stand up and speak out matters. Not only to our witness, but also to our God.
We cannot expect a lost and dying world to see us as “set apart” when we are putting our middle fingers up to the one who is leading said world. The government’s job is to uphold the good and restrain evil. The churches job is to fear God, and honor the emperor.