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Love your political leaders

How can you show your elected representatives some love this week? asks Nicolas Martin

There have been more reminders this week of the sad reality of what our leaders, of all political persuasions, suffer all too often. Alongside the verbal abuse hurled at Anna Soubry MP during a television interview, last year MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his family were harassed outside their home, and of course we remember the murder of politician Jo Cox in 2016. Whether they face taunting on their way to work, receive threats through email or social media, or even face the fear of physical harm, what is evident is that our leaders are constantly being bombarded by messages of hate.

As Christians we are called to love our neighbours (Mark 12:31), which includes people who we do not agree with. We are also called to show proper respect to everyone”, including those in authority (Peter 2:17). While we all accept that robust and passionate disagreement is part and parcel of political conversation, the tenor of current debate is far from what any of us would expect, especially when it becomes personalised. How then, as Christians engaging with the world around us, do we love our political leaders even if we agree with them on very little?

Pray for them

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This one is obvious, but Paul explicitly instructs us to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:1 – 2: I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority.” This week we’re encouraging Christians around the country to pray for our leaders, and you can have a further think about how to do that here.

Encourage them

Politicians tend to only hear from constituents when they have a complaint – inboxes and letter racks are full of criticism and negativity. Therefore, a note of encouragement will go a long way. As Proverbs 16:24 highlights: Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Even if you didn’t vote for your MP and have little intention of doing so next time, why not pop a card in the post, or send off an email of encouragement? You could even go a bit further and drop off a cake to their office. 

Invite your MP to a church service 

Romans 15:7 encourages us to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God”. By inviting an MP into your church you’re showing them that they, like anybody, are a welcomed and valued member of your community. Don’t just limit invitations to special days such as Christmas and Easter, but encourage them to join you at other times of the year too.

Change how you speak about them

It can be so easy to get caught up in the mocking and slandering of politicians, to speak about them in nasty and aggressive ways, which can add to the problem of harassment, either directly or indirectly. Ephesians 4:29 says: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” When you are speaking out in disagreement, whether it be in a casual conversation with a friend, on social media or in any other context, consider whether you are doing it in a loving and constructive way.

Support a young public leader

The Evangelical Alliance is passionate about seeing society changed by the love of Jesus, and as part of that we want to equip young Christian leaders to live boldly in their area of public life. Is there anyone who you could get alongside and encourage as they consider entering a role of leadership? Find out more about our Public Leadership initiative and consider whether you know anyone who might benefit from participating in our public leader courses.

So, as Christians and as a church, let’s be known for the way that we love our leaders in the midst of a culture of hate and victimhood. Let’s be explicitly supportive of the value of our leaders when others would seek to disrespect and devalue them in the name of politics. Regardless of our party politics, let’s be people of love and kindness in our society.

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