Should we criticize our leaders ?
Is it OK to criticize the President, or congressmen,or the governor? Isn’t it our responsibility as citizens, and as Christians, to tell our elected officials when their doing a bad job, and really give it to them? After all we elected them to serve us, and to represent us in government. What does God’s word have to say on this subject? In the book of Exodus, Pharaoh saw the Israelite women were having more children then the Egyptian women, and he was afraid the Egyptians would soon be out numbered. Because of this, he ordered the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child they helped give birth to. This was a law given by the supreme leader of their country. What did the midwives do?
Ex.1:17&20 17But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. 20Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
Here the midwives were order to do one thing by the government , but chose to disobey, because they feared God more then Pharaoh. There are many other cases of men and women of God, disobeying the government, and rulers of their time, in order to obey God. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for praying to God, as he was accustomed to doing, rather then obey king Darius and his decree not to. Also Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were thrown into a fiery furnace for disobeying king Nebuchadnezzar,and not bowing down and worshiping the golden image he had erected. When we are faced with the decision to obey man, or God, we must trust in God, despite the consequences. Does God promise to always intervene and protect us if we obey him? Jesus told us this, in the book of Mathew.
28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
When we are obeying God, we have nothing to fear, despite the consequences. God does not always step in to protect his children, when they are faced with persecution, for obeying him. Paul wrote this in his letter to the Hebrews , concerning the afflictions suffered by men and women of God, that had gone before him.
35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
This is not a pretty picture of the suffering endured by God’s people. It is not always easy to serve God. But it is always right.
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1 Pet. 3: 14
14But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
1 Pet 2: 19-20
19For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
So does all this mean we have a responsibility to challenge authority and criticize those in government positions? The Bible states just the opposite. We are instructed, to the best of our ability, to obey those that have been put in authority over us, and also to pray for their success.
Paul was brought before the leaders of his day, and had strong words, untill they explained to him, who it was he was talking to.
Acts 23: 3-5
3Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?4And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? 5Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
Paul also writes this, in his letters to the Romans, and in Hebrews.
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Peter also mentions the importance of living peacefully, under the authorities placed over us.
1 Pet. 2: 13-15
13Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;14Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.15For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
As Christians we should support and pray for our leaders, not ridicule and speak evil of them, as is so common today. Paul gave these instructions to Timothy.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
In conclusion, the Bible states we are to disobey any authority that requires us to behave contrary to God’s word. But we are to obey the authorities placed above us, in matters not contrary to God and his word, for the Lord’s sake.