It can feel like the political situations, leaders and institutions that govern us are full of mistakes, confusion, dishonesty and self seeking – we can either allow ourselves to feel negative emotions and have embittered thoughts about this and the people who aren’t doing right, or we can choose to focus our attention on the sphere of influence we have in the lives we live, in our friendships, families, communities, schools, neighbourhoods, workplaces, and make a positive difference, little by little, day by day – it may not change the world, but it may change your world around you and the lives of those in it.
Well today, the day after the United Kingdom held its European Parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her resignation, to be effective as of Friday June 7th, two weeks from now. She spoke of how she tried her best for the country she loves, and how she was motivated by her public duty and her democratic obligations to the will of the people, speaking specifically about the referendum vote three years ago that resulted in a simple majority to leave the European Union…or ‘Brexit’ as it has come to be known.
Most people feel disaffected with politics, although there has been expressions of sympathy towards Mrs May who was choked with emotion at the end of her resignation speech.
We face new challenges going forwards, and who knows what the rest of the world thinks of the United Kingdom in this respect. Yet, whatever our political opinions, persuasions or if we choose not to get involved at times, the Christian’s responsibility, regardless of personalities, politics or any other such thing, is to pray.
We are admonished in 1 Timothy 2:
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all…“
Picture courtesy of Google Images.
If you’ve been following world news lately, or live in the United Kingdom, you will know that today, 8th June 2017 is polling day for the UK’s General Election.
The election was called unexpectedly in April this year by the UK’s current Prime Minister, Teresa May. It was unexpected as she had previously announced that she would not be calling a ‘snap election’, but clearly politicians have the prerogative to change their minds! She was voted in as the new leader of the Conservative Party by her party, and consequently became Prime Minister, following David Cameron’s resignation after the majority of British voters voted for ‘Brexit’, ie to leave the European Union, in a referendum in June of last year. It was not the result that Cameron hoped for nor anticipated. His successor and the incumbent Prime Minister, Teresa May also wanted to remain in the EU. However, as leader of choice (by her party, at least), she is currently in the position of leading the country forwards in the direction of the voting population’s simple majority decision in favour of Brexit.
Teresa May could be nicknamed for a time, ‘Teresa Maybe’ or Teresa May or May Not’, due to her delay or reluctance to push that metaphorical button and invoke Article 50 which would set things in motion for Britain to leave the EU. However, finally May took decisive action and invoked or triggered Article 50 in March 2017, less than three months ago.
With further decisiveness in April of this year, Teresa May, taking on the stance of Teresa Will announced a general election to take place in June – today being that day!
It is difficult to truly discern a politician’s motives from what they actually say. Perhaps May sees this election as a way to formalise her mandate and strengthen her position in negotiating a strong Brexit deal for the country and / or to increase the Conservative’s majority in Westminster. Presumably no Prime Minister would call a sudden election well before its time (the next general election wouldn’t have been due until 2020) unless they were confident that they and their party would win.
However, despite being a small nation, and an island at that, the United Kingdom isn’t altogether united. There are fractions and divisions and competing points of view that mean that the result that May is anticipating (which we will find out tomorrow) may not turn out to be what she desires.
From the division of the ‘Remain’ and ‘Brexit’ camps, to divisions in Scotland over the results of the ‘Independence Referendum’ that took place on 18th September 2014, and a narrow majority voting for Scotland to remain as part of the United Kingdom (55.3% against independence, 44.7% in favour of independence) to all the multifarious shades of the political spectrum and opinions in between, notes from this small island of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales, report that Britain remains somewhat divided and uncertain about its future.
For several years, Westminster politics has been characterised by a rivalry between the ‘big two’ parties across opposing sides of the debating chamber: The Labour Party and the Conservative Party. However, in more recent times there have been coalitions between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form a majority, breaking the run of Labour Party rule, and finally returning to the Conservatives as the simple majority party in power.
Currently of the leaders of the ‘big two’, Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, although there may be pockets of die-hard supporters, on the whole most people have very mixed feelings towards them both, their policies and their trustworthiness.
While perhaps finding some things in either leader or party that one can resonate with, there are other elements that grate against our consciences. Politics has become synonymous with corruption, false promises and even deceit. As in the United States of America, when faced with the choice to elect either Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump for President, many voters on both sides of the Atlantic feel that they are being cornered into choosing the lesser of two evils. Gone are the days where members of the public look up to their politicians as paragons of virtue, a special breed of humanity with leadership qualities that shine forth with radiance – people deserving of our trust and respect. Perhaps such days never actually existed…?
It brings us to consider, in this hotch-potch of political choices what does make a good leader, and where can we find one? They are certainly not ‘a dime a dozen’, nor does anyone in particular in the world of politics spring to mind.
I think this reality exacerbates political frustration, despondency, apathy and confusion. I would quite frankly despair of this world were it not for the fact that I do have a Leader Whom I can wholeheartedly respect, admire, trust, believe in and follow without reservation.
Everything He does is imbued with infinite and perfect Love, Wisdom, Kindness, Goodness, Integrity and Strength. He Is a Wonderful Counsellor, a Prince of Peace.
He humbled Himself to teach us that to truly be a Leader, one must first become the Servant of all. He only ever works for Good, and Is completely and utterly Faithful and Trustworthy. He lived out self-sacrificial love, doing what is good for others at an unbelievable cost to Himself. He died to bring us salvation and Is Risen and Reigns over all.
So despite the madness of the world in which we live, the frustrations of politics and the despair over the leaders of the world, I have an infinite hope.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ personally – the One Who Shepherds His people with kindness, goodness and love, this may all seem a bit strange, as if it were perhaps just an ideal to be longed after. But He has proven Himself to me time after time, to be real, and good and utterly trustworthy, and so despite the results of these elections or all the other things happening in this world, I know that I follow and serve and belong to One Whose ways are perfect, just and kind.
Even if you don’t share my faith, I am sure you would find it fascinating and encouraging in contrast to the leaders of the world today, to look into and examine the life and ways of the historical person of Jesus Christ.
Thousands of years before He made Himself manifest to us, the prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”. (Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6).