Paul gives us a challenging exhortation on how to relate to government leaders and others in Titus 3:1-6:
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…How we are to treat others? “Be ready for every good deed; malign no one; be peaceable and gentle; show consideration for all men” (including politicians).
“Malign” (the word from which we get ‘blaspheme') means to speak reproachfully, to speak evil of, or to rail at. Harsh, angry words and jokes aimed at leaders are not peaceable, gentle, or considerate (meaning “mild or meek”) and are inappropriate for one who follows Christ. Yet how often does this characterize our attitudes and speech in this arena?
Paul explains why we are to do this, and his explanation is rooted in the Gospel:
“For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.”We tend to forget our own sinful, lost condition apart from Christ. He reminds us that God saved us, not on the basis of our own deeds and righteousness, but by His mercy. Genuinely grasping this truth changes how we view and respond to others.
Let us remember our own hopeless condition apart from Christ. Let us focus on the mercy and grace God showed to us. This will help us guard own hearts and our tongues as we respond to all those who do not know Him.