Stop the Bickering and Address the Issues!

Posted by Paul Suckling on February 10, 2012

Silhouette photo of two men arguing.As the run-up to the November U.S. presidential election takes place, we see increasing division. Many Americans are tired of it all and wishing for a whole new style of leadership.

In this world’s political system, many people desire to serve their country, but it seems all end up choosing the wrong path. The Bible says this is because the spirit of this world (Ephesians 2:2) influences our attitudes and thinking much more than we realize.

As the prophet Jeremiah wrote 600 years before Christ: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). So, try as we might, until we choose the way of God, we will stumble and fall.

Looking back

One of the most poignant and memorable quotes of recent times was spoken by Rodney King during the Los Angeles riots of 1992: “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we all get along?”

That riot cost the city of Los Angeles dearly: “53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damages to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses” (Wikipedia).

History repeats itself

Recent headlines are about riots in Oakland, California, where demonstrators attacked the city hall, burned flags, occupied public buildings, damaged property and attacked the police. All of this went on for days with hundreds of arrests.

Where is America going?

We see unrest and division increasing all around. It’s not just the voters in the states that have been badly hit economically—where so much property is “underwater” and millions are out of work. It’s the overall economy, the rising concerns about the government’s $16 trillion debt and the lack of clear leadership that’s fueling the crises. Instead of pulling together to try to get along and solve the problems, political fights are growing increasingly hostile.

A leader in the Republican Party compared the president of the United States to the captain who shipwrecked and abandoned his cruise ship off the coast of Italy. He said the president is more concerned about campaigning and keeping his job than he is about the millions in America needing help.

This is just one of the many attacks from all sides.

The next president

The British newsmagazine The Economist had on the cover of its Jan. 6 edition a caricature of the ideal Republican to run for president. The candidate, who looks like Abraham Lincoln, needs the following qualities:

  • Reagan’s sunny optimism.
  • Lincoln’s silver tongue.
  • A compassionate, conservative heart.
  • Ike’s (that’s President Eisenhower’s) full metal jacket.
  • Nixon’s brain (without the tricky bits).
  • Thatcher’s iron grip.

Who has all of these abilities?

In my opinion, no man on earth could be that good.

Politics photo, group of people watching intently.Rodney King wanted to know, “Can we all get along?”

Until humans learn to do things the way God says, wars and fights will continue throughout all societies and cultures. To stop the bickering and to truly address the issues, the self-destructive attempts to destroy the opponent must stop. Leaders should demonstrate their character and offer real, practical solutions to the challenges facing the nation and world today.

Biblical insight

Character assassination and twisting of words by taking so much out of context has no part in the kind of leadership style God looks for.

Moses needed assistants who were “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness” (Exodus 18:21).

And in the New Testament, consider the qualifications of the seven men chosen to serve as the first deacons: “men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom” (Acts 6:3).

God considers leadership responsibilities important. Jesus prayed all night to His Father before He finalized the choice of the 12 apostles (Luke 6:12-16).

As part of their training, when He saw them arguing and trying to gain the upper hand for themselves, He told them: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:25-26). Jesus Christ Himself was the greatest example of this kind of selfless service (verse 28).

Pray about what is happening

Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy and encouraged him to teach the Church to pray for the leadership, giving thanks for all men and praying, too, that we may lead peaceable lives. He further says that “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

If everyone truly did this, what a difference it might make to our political scene and society!

We also pray for the return of Jesus Christ to bring the perfect government—the Kingdom of God! Read more about this government in our booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom.
Paul Suckling, a native of England, is now a pastor in New England for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

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