Humility Over Division

There is a distorted cultural reality that states that the more visible a person is in the public eye, the more we often feel the freedom to evaluate and criticize them. I likewise find myself thinking in a moment of my own disapproval of a public figure of any kind, “Well, if you didn’t want me to form an opinion about you, maybe you shouldn’t have sought the spotlight.” The reality is that this thought is sinful, and I wanted to start off these thoughts that I’m sharing with you by confessing them to you and before the Lord.

I begin with that thought because we are just days away from our country observing Presidents Day and I would argue there is no public figure more freely criticized than those in public office and especially the President. As we continue our Holidays series, we want to ask the question: what if instead of fear, disapproval, or frustration, our primary response to those in public office was to put on the mind of Christ, look upon our world with compassion and wisdom, and approach these leaders with what they need so desperately from us: prayer.

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, NASB 1995)

We see here Paul, who is encouraging Timothy, expound on what it looks like to, in his words, “Fight the good fight.” Paul is instructing Timothy on how to live out a life that is holy and pleasing to God as a minister of the gospel, and he pens these words that echo through the centuries and now fall on our own ears. There is no instruction to speak divisive words or to scorn those with whom we disagree. There is no inkling that if Timothy were to disapprove of those in power, he should disregard them or dishonor them. He calls him to prayer, humble requests, and even thanksgiving on their behalf.

Paul is looking humbly and rightly at himself and reminding Timothy that when we look to our leaders and the expectations we cast upon them, let us not forget the reflection they cast upon us. They are not separate entities but mirrors reflecting the character of the people they serve. If they falter, so do we. If they need prayer, so do we.

When we look to our leaders and the expectations we cast upon them, let us not forget the reflection they cast upon us.

So, as we commemorate Presidents Day, let us do so not just with historical reverence but with an earnest commitment to prayer. For in prayer, we acknowledge our shared responsibility, our shared humanity, and our shared need for divine guidance. May our prayers be as steadfast as our commitment to a community built on justice, righteousness, human dignity, liberty, and compassion.

As we approach Monday together as a church, would we be bold enough to think rightly of ourselves and pray the following prayer:

Merciful God, humble me to remember that the mantle of leadership would fall just as heavily on me as it does on the leaders of this country. Help me to remember that there are those who have been disappointed in my decisions and those who disagree fervently with my worldview. Teach my heart to know that it is only by the saving grace of Jesus Christ that I am free and confident in my primary citizenship—that of heaven. I lift up to You today in prayer the leadership of my country in the hope that those who know you might live according to Your will and those who do not would be gifted with the powerful and abiding gift that is Salvation in Your Son, Jesus. Fill me with the Holy Spirit so that You may help me live out the love and evangelism that You’re calling me to. Amen.


Derek Brandt