In BJU Press’s Biblical Worldview: Creation, Fall, Redemption we aslo gave attention to the virtues of humility and respect. Here is a selection from an inital draft that was later reduced due to space constraints:
Repeatedly Scripture urges Christians to engage those who oppose them with respect. Consider Titus 3:1-3. In the context of submission to governmental authority, Paul describes how Christians should conduct themselves: Christians should not slander, defame, or verbally abuse anyone, especially a person in a role of authority. When Paul was on trial and the high priest ordered Paul to be struck illegally, Paul shot back: “God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall.” Paul pointed out the hypocrisy of those who were judging him according to the law breaking that law in their very proceedings. But when it was pointed out to Paul that the person he spoke against was the high priest, Paul retracted his statement and confessed he was wrong since the law said, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people” (Acts. 23:2-5; cf. Ex. 22:28). Rather than quarreling with opponents, the Christian should be known as gracious, considerate, and peaceable. Paul bases his instruction on the fact that Christians were no different than the sinners who rule over them and live around them. Christians are saved by grace, not by any merit of their own. Thus Christians should be gracious, not abusive toward others.
If Christians participated in political life with these virtues, they would stand out as distinctively Christian. Sadly, too often Christians speak with the same harshness, quarrelsomeness, and sometimes even untruthfulness about their political opponents as the lost world. Such things ought not be so (Jam. 3:10). Even under a ruler such as Nero, who had starkly unchristian policies, Peter says, “Honor the emperor” (1 Pet. 2:17).
I fear that too often we are more shaped by talk show or TV personalities than we are by Scripture in these matters. Not only does this harm conservativism politically, as Mona Charen points out in an excellent article in National Review, but, more importantly we are conformed to the world in an area of public witness and we may be unaware of our worldliness and the damage it does to the cause of Christ.
This is by no means a call for Christians to disengage from the political area or to be less bold in such engagement. It is a call for strength of conviction to be clothed with humility and respect.