Myanmar’s military toppled the civilian government. Now the country’s diverse population is banding together in protest
Joe Biden began his presidency with talk of “unity.” If by that he meant join us in tribalistic politics and aborting babies, of course we just say no. But if it means recognizing that all of us with contrasting worldviews live in the same country and hope to be at peace with each other, and that Christians should be faithful to Christ while seeking the welfare of the country where God has placed us (Jeremiah 29), we should go for that.
Godly people in ancient Israel aspired to theological and governmental unity: Our situation is more like that of Daniel, Esther, and Paul, all of whom faced hard choices. All authority comes from God, but Jesus told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Lest we think Jesus was ironically telling us that nothing is Caesar’s, Paul told Roman Christians living under godless tyrants to be subject to those authorities and pay taxes, “not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (Romans 13:5). Paul told Thessalonians “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs … so that you may walk properly before outsiders” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
WORLD over the decades has tried to transcend partisanship. We reported the downsides of Bill Clinton’s social policies and immoral sociability, but his last year in office was also the last year the United States didn’t run a deficit. (A Republican Congress helped.) I was an informal adviser to George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, but just before he became president I told him WORLD would zing him at times—and we did. We reported Barack Obama’s bad policies and said both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were unfit to be president.
Let us keep calm and drink the cup, even though it will probably be bitter.
Those who want Christians to declare war on the Biden administration might quote Jesus saying, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). But the context of that verse is familial, not political: Matthew 10:35 speaks of divisions among close relatives. Exegetical books like Hard Sayings of the Bible note that unbelievers often respond to Christ with hostility, but Christians should not be the aggressors: Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Jesus taught that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” He said in the Gethsemane garden: “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (Matthew 26:52, John 18:11). God has placed us in the United States during the Biden administration, as He placed Daniel in Babylon during the Nebuchadnezzar administration, Christians in Rome under Nero—and now our brothers and sisters in China under Xi Jinping. Let us keep calm and drink the cup, even though it will probably be bitter.
By my choice of comparisons, you can see I’m pessimistic about what will happen in Washington under President Biden. We’ll face tough judgment calls and political battles, but we should concentrate on repelling aggression, preserving life, and seeking peace without surrender. Let’s study Mark 9:50, John 14:27, John 16:33, and Acts 10:36, and remember that Christians can do much regardless of who is president. For example, since U.S. abortions peaked in 1990, pro-abortion Democrats have occupied the White House more than half the time, but the number of abortions has fallen by almost half, with the decline occurring during each administration.
Hardship might help the cause of Christ. One more abortion reference: During the Trump era it was easy to cheer White House pro-life pronouncements, even as pro-abortion forces pushed ahead with do-it-yourself chemical abortions. Now, maybe more Christians will volunteer at pregnancy resource centers instead of centering our hopes on government grants. Maybe we’ll think harder about justice questions, remembering that justice without compassion is just ice. Maybe we’ll remember that compassion—literally, suffering with those in need—is not an option: All who follow the Bible are called to it.