Problem with Presidential Myopia
Hard to believe that it’s already been one year since Joe Biden took the oath of office as our nation’s 46th president. It’s been a year filled with continuing uproar over the never-ending pandemic, racial unrest, and a 24/7 echo chamber of criticism.
It’s enough to make you wonder why anyone would want the job.
A recent New York Times story chronicled President Biden’s approval ratings slipping into the mid-40% range, just a smidgen above President Donald Trump’s average rating for his four years.
It would seem sitting in the Oval Office translates to automatic backbiting, second-guessing, and carping about your every action, no matter on which side of the aisle it tilts.
There are a couple interesting points to the ongoing hubbub that surrounds the president, regardless of party.
Guilty of Presidential Idolatry
First is the excessive focus on one person makes our society guilty of idolatry.
No single person can fulfill every expectation, dream, and plan we have, especially in a nation as diverse as the United States. To expect any leader to be anything more than human is to invest too much in a person instead of looking to God for our hope.
In modern day, we have taken that practice to Presidential heights. Gas prices up? Blame the president. Unemployment too high? Blame the president. Inflation out of bounds? Blame the president.
Conversely, if gas prices are down, we credit the president. If employment is low, it’s because the president’s policies have sent everyone back to the office. If inflation is low, then he must be making the nation great again.
For years, I have thought the president takes too much blame when conditions are off and too much applause when they’re up.
There are so many other factors, from the world situation to natural disasters to business conditions, ad infinitum, that to focus all our attentions—good or bad—on one person is illogical and unreasonable.
Need for Prayer
Secondly, we also need to spend more time praying for our president. Paul put it this way in 1 Timothy 2:1-3: “Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (MEV).
One time our pastor talked about the late 1990s controversy over President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Our pastor said God told him that if the church had spent as much praying for Clinton as grumbling about him, the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky might never have happened.
The same is true right now. Churches should spend more time praying for President Biden and less time complaining about his policies. The fact that we engage in too much of the latter reveals another unpleasant truth: if you think things are in bad shape right now, the blame belongs to the church, not society.
When we fail to live with integrity, demonstrate generosity, and be known more for what we support than what we’re against, we can’t expect the world to rise above the standards we have set.