I never really enjoyed politics. This is due to several reasons. Perhaps it was the memorization of numerous dates and names in high school history classes, or it could just be the fact that I had no say in politics until a couple of years ago. Regardless of reasoning, my apathy for politics has suddenly subsided with my recent involvement in an international relations course at the university I attend. Whether we realize it or not, our world is figuratively shrinking due to communicative technology, transportation, important relationships with other nations, and many other reasons. With this “globalization”, comes a need for intelligent leaders who can discern what is best for our blessed nation. Needless to say, America has been through a lot, but for the most part, our nation has been blessed.
However, there is a problem. Merely flipping through channels on the television will engulf a person in a wave of negativity. Ever notice that this negativity is especially prevalent on news and political channels? However, television is not the only place negativity about government is heard. In fact, many fellow Christians feel that it is their only responsibility to government is to complain. This completely contradicts the example set for believers in the Biblical text.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This passage is remarkable. Paul writes this statement to Timothy during the reign of Emperor Nero. A notoriously cruel ruler, Nero was known for many executions, including the execution of his mother. Additionally, persecution of Christians was a growing threat. Keep in mind that in 64 A.D. the Great Fire of Rome destroyed a large portion of the city. After this event, Nero used Christians as scapegoats. For this reason, believers were beaten, fed to animals, and even burned in Nero’s garden at night for light. It is generally agreed that Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy after his first Roman imprisonment. This would date the letter right around this time of immense persecution. Tensions were obviously high between the government and believers. As if all of this was not enough, there is evidence from Christian tradition that Paul himself was beheaded under the command of Emperor Nero. Obviously, Paul had every right to complain about the government. The leader was cruel and had conflicting beliefs with Paul. However, Paul had a radical mindset of thanksgiving and prayer.
Can we say the same?