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Posted: November 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The Christian citizen

Well, most elections are over. You may be happy with the outcome, or you may be disturbed with the results. I for one am not too worried. My hope has never been in who sits in the White House, or who sits in the Courthouse or who sits in our Congressional offices; my hope is in the one who sits on the throne of heaven, and that has not changed.

Whether you are pleased with the results of this election or not, the question on both sides is what do we do now? And since this is a religious column, more specifically what should the Christian response be to those who will soon be our leaders?

First, let me remind you that while some Christians may be wringing their hands in despair, God is not (and, therefore, neither will I). The Bible reminds us, "He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars," (Daniel 2:21, NLT). This election was not out of God’s hands; don’t think for one minute it was.

Second, the Bible instructs believers to, "Pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. Pray for kings and others in power, so that we may live quiet and peaceful lives as we worship and honor God," (1 Timothy 2:1-2, CEV).

We need to pray for our leaders — all of them. I, for one, am grateful for men and women who are willing to serve in the public forum; it is a difficult and often-times thankless job. Pray for our new leaders. A Washington insider observed that our leaders often come to Washington D.C. idealistic and, "ready to change the system, but instead find themselves changed by the system." I would imagine that such a harsh reality could have a devastating effect on one’s personal integrity and self esteem.

Third, be involved in the system. Never forget that our elected leaders are supposed to represent us, not themselves nor special interest groups, but us. I fear that far too many of us abdicate our responsibilities the minute we walk out of the polling booth. We may complain about the actions of our leaders (if we take the time to even be aware of what they are doing), but often that is as far as it goes. Your leaders cannot represent you unless they hear from you. I am told that at least on the Congressional level, one letter is viewed as representing 10,000 votes. Don’t think your one letter is seen as only one opinion. Too many people excuse their non-involvement with the weak excuse, "It’s only one voice." One voice is better than no voices. Edmund Burke is credited with saying, "All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."

I am alarmed as I hear and see a number of good people who are currently poised to promote evil by their unwillingness to get involved. They have taken the stance of the vanquished and have all but given up hope. These prophets of doom and gloom are simply circling the wagons. Never forget that the Bible reminds us, "The Lord controls the mind of a king as easily as he directs the course of a stream," (Proverbs 21:1, GNT).

When all is said and done, the responsibility of the Christian citizen is found in the words of the Apostle Peter, "Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government," (1 Peter 2:13-17, The Message).

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Or e-mail him at john.pearrell@gatewaycommunity.org For more information, visit www.gatewaycommunity.org

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