Friday, April 20, 2012

Thanks Mr. President

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Some time ago I had a friend who liked to complain about the president, and some of the things he managed to blame on the president were incredible. Whether a friend was out of work, insurance was too expensive, or gas prices were too high, you could depend on him for a loud and sarcastic, “Thanks Mr. President!” He blamed the president for at least one problem just about every time I saw him. He made a practice of it. As you might imagine, his diligent negativity got old fast.

Whining about the president is not funny, nor is it clever. It is an annoying, fruitlessly, and patently unchristian behaviour. Please understand me, it is acceptable and even necessary to, at times, speak out against the actions of a politician who you find fault with. We do not owe any earthly leader our silent unconditional submission. Making a practice out of complaining is something outside of godly citizenship.

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Consider the effect of this man's constant interjections of “Thanks Mr. President!” They helped to feed a culture of negativity wherever he went.  He irritated folks who liked the president, and he invited more complaining from folks who shared his views. Imagine if instead of sarcastically thanking some politician at every opportunity, we made a practice of authentically thanking God. After all, it's God's will for us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We're even encouraged to give thanks during hardship, which scripture encourages us to endure as loving discipline from God himself (Hebrews 12:7). Paul even encouraged his readers to glory in their suffering because of the character it ultimately produced (Romans 5:3-5). Even if God didn't work all things out for our good (Romans 8:28); Christians would still be expected to respect the authorities (Romans 13:1-7), just as Paul encouraged the early Christians to show respect for the Roman Emperor, who in Paul's day was Nero.

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Take a moment today to thank God for someone negative who brings you down. Whether it's a boss, a co-worker, or someone closer to home, it's God's will that we give thanks in all circumstances. God is enthusiastic to forgive all sin, both yours and theirs. Since you're freely forgiven, pass that forgiveness along to the person who's been dragging you down. You don't have to tell them. It can stay between you and God, but if you don't forgive them then they'll be free to continue to discourage and infuriate you. Enjoy the freedom that forgiveness brings today.


  1. Awesome challenge - just did the challenge. In light of 1 Timothy 2:1-6 there is also advantage to praying for those in authority in light of the gospel going forth with power and grace. Your call to a godly response to authority is a sign of trust in God's sovereignty and goodness and a testimony to a lost world. May we believers get this.

    1. That's a good point about praying. One of my favourite things about visiting CTK is that they always pray for our governor and president by their first names. I should consider taking that on as a personal practice.


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