First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
As followers of Jesus we are supposed to be in the business of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. That’s it. Disciples who make disciples. Don’t get distracted, don’t be a distraction. That’s pretty much the Paul’s message in 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Pray for everyone in authority. Why? So we can live in peace. Why? Because it makes God happy. Why? Because we’re supposed to be sharing the gospel, and guess what, that’s hard to do when you’re making a stink about everything else, even good things.
There are battles in our culture that beg to be fought. Social justice battles. Political policy battles. Sin issues that need to be addressed. Issues like abortion, and racism, and immigration and police brutality and… And a host of other local, sometimes national, issues that are real and deserving our attention.
But then there’s Paul touting a strategy (prayer) that doesn’t focus on issues, but on people. How we deal with people, especially the people waging these battles, is what ultimately matters because if there is never another abortion performed again, never another racial injustice committed again, it will not matter if the gospel isn’t front and center as the reason why we–the followers of Jesus–care about those things.
By choosing to live at peace, with dignity, we leave open the door to share with others even when we don’t necessarily agree with them. Choose the opposite, be a mocker, a scoffer, someone who is loud and obnoxious, and that door will almost always be closed. So before you post your next meme, rant or “helpful advice,” before you take a proud stand for what you believe, ask yourself, will this help or hurt my chance to share the glorious truth of Jesus’ love and sacrifice. Because the more shade you throw, the less the light shines around you.