Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25—More Significant than the Debates

Do you feel like this after
watching all the political ads?

            Did you know a presidential election is less than two weeks away?  Did you know there have been three presidential debates and a vice presidential debate?

            I am sorry I cannot keep a straight face any longer.  It is nearly impossible for your family not to have been touched by the political ads and discussion.  You would have had to had no access to television, radio, or internet and not go anywhere where you could possibly have seen any political signs—and maybe not even have had access to postal mail—to not realize we are in a presidential election year.

            Candidates often accuse their opponents of mudslinging, but then they categorize every negative comment as mudslinging.  I would not classify sharing facts about a candidate's voting record or public speeches as mudslinging, even if they show the person running for an office as wish-washy, unreliable, or dishonest.  However, any distortion or twisting or misrepresentation of the truth would be outright fraud, not mudslinging.  Even though the candidates usually only point fingers at each other, most of the disrespectful, irreverent actions and speech I have witnessed have not come from the candidates but from the general public.

            I am not talking about criticisms about a politician's views or policies; I am talking about pure personal attacks.  A candidate's character is relevant to his or her public office, but rude, manufactured comments about a candidate's personal choices and/or dress have no place in an informed discussion about choosing our country's leader.  For example, few years ago one politician was heavily criticized for using a fork to eat pizza.  I do not even remember to which party that person belonged.  Unfortunately, all I remember is, "What does that have to do with leading our country?"  Who hasn't been photographed while in the middle of a blink or some normal gesture that looks distorted when captured in a snapshot?  Rather than deleting that photo and moving on, too many people use those photographs as opportunities to spread them along with rude comments or jokes to be circulated through social networking.  How do those actions help everyday citizens understand a potential leader's views and potential policies?

            What does the Bible say?

            I Timothy 2:1-2—I urge, then first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

            This passage does not say pray for your leaders if you agree with them or if they give you what you want.  It says to pray for them. I have not seen anywhere in Scripture where God favors a political party.  He favors obedience and loyalty to Him—starting with you and me.  I think the Bible shows a couple of other things you may want to ponder and consider how they might relate to politics:  (1)  God judges individuals and nations.  It does not seem fair to me, but that's what I  have read. (2) God can and does use leaders to accomplish His purpose, whether or not they are a follower of Him. 

            Your turn:  What are you teaching your children about politics with your words, actions, reactions, off-hand comments, and attitude?  What do you want to teach them?  Do they see you respectfully disagree with others—including our national leaders?  Do they see you make personal attacks against candidates and incumbents with cutting words or jokes that distract from the true issues? 

            Begin praying for our leaders at all levels.  Support candidates that best live god-honoring lives.  You will never find a politician who is perfect or without fault, but look for the one that, after a fall, gets back on the right path and begins again.  When you have a representative with whom you disagree, respectfully explain why you disagree and why he or she should consider changing his or her mind, even if the same courtesy is not extended back to you.  In reality, your reaction to the political discussion will probably touch your family more significantly than the political debates or maybe even the election itself.

            If you would like more ideas on helping your children (and yourself) develop a Biblical worldview or to find out how to win a Wal-Mart gift card, go to the 31 Days Giveaway (Intro. Part II) post for more Touching Families blog links.  If you want to check out other 31 Days' topics, see The Nester.

*All verses quoted are from the New International Version:  THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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