As I write this piece the national turmoil over Brexit continues – and is possibly coming to a head. The Prime Minister has been taken to the highest court in the land over advice he gave to the Queen; he has also said that he would rather be dead in a ditch than see the United Kingdom remain in the European Union at the end of October. But at the same time there are many others in positions of authority who are absolutely determined to reverse the decision for our country to leave – or at least they want to prevent us leaving without a deal.
How should Christians react to all this? First and foremost, we must pray for our leaders. Recently I visited a church in Shropshire and the Minister challenged his congregation by asking what they gave more time to: talking about Brexit or praying about Brexit? I think everyone present felt rebuked.
But what exactly should we pray? If we’re looking for some straightforward teaching on praying for leaders then we need look no further than 1 Timothy 2:1-2 where it says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
On first hearing these verses Paul seems to be encouraging Christians to be a bit wimpish; it sounds like he’s telling us to pray for lives that avoid trouble. But Paul’s real concern is that Christians should always have opportunities to preach the gospel unhindered. Quite likely he fears a situation where the state turns against the church and so causes God’s people to meet secretly and become an underground movement; obviously this would severely restrict the preaching of the gospel. And so Paul tells us to pray that the state will realise that we are law-abiding, public-spirited citizens and be happy to leave us in peace to get on with our God-fearing lives.
As I’ve reflected on Paul’s instruction, I’ve realised that Leaving or Remaining probably won’t make a lot of difference to our freedom to ‘live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’ As far as I can tell Brexit or otherwise won’t make a massive difference to our liberty to preach the gospel. And so surely no Christian should be willing to die in a ditch for Brexit or Remain?
That’s not to say that Christians shouldn’t have an opinion on this matter; but I would say that this is not an issue to lose friends over. There are even reports of families falling out over Brexit; surely this matter isn’t that important?
Maybe you’ve fallen out with someone? Maybe you’ve been rude or been insulted? Maybe you view someone with contempt because of their views on this matter? When all is said and done it really isn’t worth it, and you need to mend those relationships.
Yours in Christ