Obey the people who have authority in this world. Do this for the Lord. Obey the king, who is the highest authority. And obey the leaders who are sent by the king. They are sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. So when you do good, you stop foolish people from saying stupid things about you. This is what God wants. Live as free men. But do not use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as servants of God. Show respect for all people. Love the brothers and sisters of God’s family. Respect God. Honor the king.

1 Peter 2:13-17 (ICB)

“It’s gonna be ugly!”

This weekend created a titanic tilt in the 2020 election. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg  has shifted the focus, again, creating the echo of “this is the most important election in recent history.”

My years in politics have not prepared me for the brutal rhetoric we are experiencing this cycle. I remember walking the halls of the power in Sacramento, stopping at each Republican office to meet with the Assemblyman or Senator to ask for their endorsement. One in particular stands out because we had some serious differences, even being in the same party. Yet, I walked out the door with both of us agreeing to disagree. But, because of our amicable conversation, that Senator would always take my phone call, even when on the Senate floor. He knew we would not necessarily agree but he had respect for my opinion.

And that is what is missing today–respect–on both sides. Peter’s directions to the young church give us a pattern for our behavior:

Obey. The people and laws on the books are our roadmap because we have given them that authority. They represent us and create an orderly (sometimes) path for us to follow. We may not like how they govern and that is why we have elections.

Watch what you say. We have freedom but don’t be foolish and say hurtful things or do something that will have consequences that create destruction and mayhem to people and property.

Be a servant. The pandemic gives us the perfect opportunity to serve our neighbors and friends. Pick up your friend’s grocery list and run the errand for them. Treat the car behind you in the Starbucks line to a free drink. Make a batch of cookies and drop off a plate to neighbors.

Love your church family. Drop a note in the mail. Call those who have moved to check on them. Send a text on a special day. Email a note of encouragement to those who are lonely.

Respect God. All of the other instructions fall into place if this one is followed because with that respect comes love for all that He has done for me. He is in control and I can trust HIm. This election is one day in our history not the end of the world. Our hope is beyond this earth looking forward to our heavenly home. We know the end of the story. He wins.