Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

And so it happened. It was somewhat…confusing… for me. There seems to be VERY few people who can approach the subject of President Obama with a level head. Most people I’ve talked seem to either worship him or despise him, without much middle ground.

I see the throngs and throngs of people in D.C. and the looks of hope on their faces as Obama was sworn in and spoke to us as our President. Are they idolizing him as a superhuman golden calf, or are they simply proud of our country and hopeful for the future? How can you tell their hearts’ condition from images alone? Who has a right to judge?

I also see the looks of horror and despair on the faces of conservative Christians as they are fully convinced that along with this new President, the economy and morality of this country will undoubtedly get worse. I know they hold these views because I have personally talked to them. Is Obama truly the antichrist? Does he only seek to destroy the bit of decency we have left in this nation? How can we know his heart’s condition? Who has a right to judge?

The truth is… we as people can’t know and we don’t know. Only time will tell if he is to become a truly great leader. Only God knows the condition of a heart.

Obama, his administration, and his family are in my prayers. But not in the way you may expect from a mostly conservative Christian. Normally I would encourage Christian Americans to pray for our leaders, but I’m not entirely sure that in this case everyone should. Shocking, I know, but here’s why. I have seen “Christians” hate Obama so much that they actually pray against him and his success as President, which only stirs up their anger and hatred even more. Is hatred in prayer acceptable? Is the attitude that God wants His people to develop? Not only that, but do you really want to see him fail if you live in America? How would Obama’s failure affect you and your well-being if you are an American citizen? How would that affect the rest of the world?

I’m trying to understand the thinly-veiled hatred that many conservative “Christians” display toward Obama, especially the venomous prayer. Are these anger-filled responses Christlike? Yes, I know what Obama’s platform is, especially his stance on abortion. But that does NOT answer the question – Are these responses Christlike? Are your responses Christlike?

Don’t misunderstand me. I do not encourage idolizing Obama. I don’t believe that he will singlehandedly change America and fix all the wrongs. I believe that he will go back on campaign promises just like every other President has. However, I will pray for him – for godly wisdom, strength to stand for what is right, the persuasiveness and charisma to settle conflicts before they turn into wars, the humility to seek wise counsel (even if it differs from popular opinion), to always listen to and defend the common people, and for being able to balance work and family. I do not wish him ill. I hope he succeeds in leading us toward righteousness, and maybe even toward prosperity.

I also pray for myself, for wisdom to see clearly where he may fall short so that I may vote wisely in the future, for compassion to forgive his failures, and for a heart that will stay silent on his wrongdoings and slander unless I can somehow help the situation become better for whoever is listening.

I pray for my country, that as we celebrate we also heed President Obama’s call to hard work. I look forward to the change that will occur if a grassroots movement of kindness, perseverance, and strong work ethic moves among our people.

However, I pray for my fellow Christian Americans most of all. I pray that as you oppose what is clearly immoral, you do not become poisonous to the good that God is raising up around you, even as a result of this inauguration.

When it comes to Obama, there is no middle ground…only polar opposites. Maybe it’s time for more of God’s people to stand in the gap.

1 comment:

chrish said...

Great thoughts, Jules. Well said.

I'm no supporter of Obama, but I don't hope he fails. I hope he does better than I think he will, and much better than I'm afraid he will.

I think praying that someone not succeed can be done - David does it in the imprecatory Psalms - but I'm pretty sure I'm not in a position to do so. I am certainly praying that Mr Obama and his family will experience repentence and turn their hearts toward God, but that's something I pray about a lot of people...

More than anything, though, Psalm 146 has been on my mind lately. I wrote about it in my own blog, but verse 3 works for me: Do not put your trust in princes, mere men who cannot save.