At least, I think He was referring to them… This is what He said:
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2
Although, I didn’t have the courage to argue with God out loud, my heart said… “Come on, this is America. We don’t have rulers. We the people are the rulers. And I thought to myself, even if I should think of our elected officials as rulers, neither Clinton nor Trump are president yet.”
But the God repeated a sentence that I still hadn’t caught yet… “speak evil of no one.”
My mind became flooded with all of the things that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said and done that have made me angry. I thought, “what if these candidates ARE evil?”
I’m not sure if God said this next part, but He may have by His Spirit. I was reminded in my soul about whom the rulers were in the days of Paul and Titus. They were Romans… people who enjoyed watching the massacre of innocent people in the Colosseum. People who crucified their enemies. And yet, Paul directed Titus to: “speak evil of no one.”
And friends, I was powerfully convicted. This election season, I have spoken evil of Hillary Clinton. I have spoken evil of Donald Trump. I have even spoken evil of Gary Johnson. I have spoken and talked on social media in ways that were quarrelsome. I have failed to be gentle. I have failed to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
I am a conservative. I love America and I believe in progress that is slow and careful and thoughtful. I care about political theory and history. I deeply desire for my son to grow up in a nation that we can be proud of. And so, this election season… I have struggled soooo much with the temptation to disregard Titus 3:1-2.
So why God? Why have You commanded Your Church to behave so meekly?
He actually answered me on that one. He said:
“For (you) were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing your days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God (your) Savior appeared, he saved (you), not because of works done by (you) in righteousness, but according to (my) own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, who (I) poured out on (you) richly through Jesus Christ (your) savior…”
( I changed the pronouns in order to make a point that I DO think the passage was making, but I recognize I am interpreting in order to do so and could be shown to be in error.)
Why am I commanded to behave meekly towards candidates that may or may not have acted in malice, envy, and hatred?
Because as a Christian, I know that every single sin of Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s has similar roots in my own heart. I may not have sinned to the extent that certain other people have, but that isn’t because I’m righteous. God has graciously kept me from the full consequences of the selfish nature of my heart.
Let me put it this way, Christian brother. What is the difference between us and Donald Trump? Grace. Christian sister, what is the difference between you and Hillary Clinton? Grace.
As Christians we know where our worth is found. We were not saved because we are winners. We were not saved because we are smart. We were not saved because there was anything innately holy or righteous about us. We were saved because God looked with mercy upon our pitiful condition and said, “LIVE.” And we came alive when we first beheld Jesus in our hearts as the Glorious One that He is.
As Christians, we know why we do good to others. We know why we can radically forgive. We know why we can obey even in this difficult command found in Titus 3:1-2. We have been given the Spirit of God! Shall we not be merciful even in our hearts to politicians who are not filled with His Spirit? Should we not be merciful to people whose hope is not rooted in the return of Jesus Christ?
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton need our prayers. They are real people who are certain to die one day. They are real people who are certainly dealing with the consequences of their own personal darkness.
The people that we are talking to on facebook need our love. Does love speak the truth? Yes. Believe me, I don’t intend to stay silent on political issues. But I do intend to write with a gentle tone and spirit. I do intend to avoid quarrels. I do intend to be perfectly courteous to even the most offense sarcasm that I may be treated with. I intend to do this because God told me to do it and reminded me that I have nothing good in my own being that was not a gift from Him.
If I fail, will you remind me of Titus 3:1-2? I promise not to be offended. All you’ll need to do is mention the reference.