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Why I Love Barack Obama

Barack Obama

I have a dream.

I’m at a park, or a convention, or at the White House, and he’s there too. I wait around for the chance to talk to him for a moment. When he sees me, I hug him. I tell him that even though I don’t like all his policies and stuff, I love him. I apologize for all the terrible things people say about him all the time. I ask if we can take a picture together, for me to put on Facebook. Then I wake up, disappointed that it was just a dream.

I’ve had this dream half a dozen times in the past two years, but it wasn’t always that way.

When I was in college, I cruised the streets Minneapolis in my beat-up two-door Cavalier with a McCain sticker on the rusted bumper, jamming out to the sweet sounds of Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity. I thought the Tea Party was a great idea. When Obama was elected, we all worried about the fate of America.

To Love My Enemy

I remember those early days of his presidency, listening to the right-wing radio guys every day. Waiting every day to watch Obama screw up. New unemployment numbers. New popularity ratings. New sound bytes. They all confirmed what I believed – that Obama was a terrible President, maybe even evil. That he would fail. Every mistake was a point on our team’s scoreboard, proof that we’d been right about him all along. Vindication.

I stopped listening to talk radio when I left Minneapolis. As those voices faded from my mind, so did my hatred for the President. My active dislike became ambivalence.

Then I met a friend who told me he was praying for Obama. Of course, this was nothing new to me. As a Christian, it was my duty to pray for Obama. For wisdom. For good decisions. For him to somehow not screw up our country too badly.

Pray for Obama

[This doesn't count.]

But my friend actually prayed for Obama. When the angry right-wing radio voices ranted about yet another First Family vacation, I remember he prayed that our President would enjoy the time spent with his wife and daughters. He told me that the more he prayed for Obama, the more he liked him.

I didn’t like this idea at all. I didn’t want to like Obama.

To Love My Neighbor

Hate is not an option for a follower of Jesus. I knew that, but most of my life I allowed myself an exception for liberals, gays, legalists, and immigrants. Slowly, Jesus has been taking those exceptions away from me.

I’ve always respected the President, for the sake of the office if not the man. This was the duty of a good Christian, because of that verse in Romans about how God ordains leaders and all that. But Jesus has been calling me beyond.

“Love your enemy”, He says. Then you wake up one day and your enemy is your friend.

To Love My President

The Bible tells us that love is patient and kind. It does not dishonor others. It looks for the best in a person, not the worst. It doesn’t keep a record of mistakes. It hopes. It endures. It never fails.

When I was under the influence of talk radio, I believed President Obama was cocky, arrogant, narcissistic, hellbent on destroying America. But when I started to love, I saw him as a kind husband and father, a hopeful idealist, a guy I’d love to play basketball with someday.

Barack Obama Basketball

[I'd totally dunk on him.]

Love changed the way I listened to his politics too. I stopped waiting for him to misstep, or screw up, or say something I disagreed with. Instead of sharing his worst quotes, I started sharing his best.

I still disagree with some of his policies, but I’ve become more and more open to understanding them. Rather than caricaturing him and his ideas, I’ve tried to approach them with grace. As a result, I’ve grown in respect not only for our President, but also for my brothers and sisters who voted for him.

To Love My Brother

The Scriptures tell us that, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone… especially those who are in the household of faith. 

I remember when George W. Bush was our President how excited we all were to have a Christian in the White House. But I was hesitant to accept Barack Obama as a fellow believer. Then, as the hate faded away along with the political barriers I had erected in my own heart, I was more willing to listen to his own story:

“I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn’t ‘fall out in church’ as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn’t want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.” (from Christianity Today)

To Love

Ultimately, my love for Barack Obama does not depend on his job performance, politics, personality, or beliefs. I love him, not because he’s a Christian, but because I am.

As a follower of Jesus, I am called to love my enemy, my neighbor, and my brother. Hard as I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to find somebody that excludes.

I have so far to go, still. Often I find myself mocking, belitting, judging, disrespecting. Dismissing instead of discussing. Ranting instead of praying. But slowly, one person at a time, Jesus has been turning “I Hate You” into “I’m Sorry I Hated You“, and then finally into “I Love You.”

I hope that someday I get the chance to say that to Barack Obama.

Barack Obama Hug

[I imagine it will be something like this.]

 [ Images: Heavy, Ed Stetzer, ABC, Political Fiber ]

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  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.wonders Dave Wonders

    Challenging stuff, Micah… I’m still struggling with the love thing but I am definitely working on the prayer part of it. Maybe someday I’ll come around :)

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      One day at a time, man. Step by step. Just keep following Jesus!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dave.wonders Dave Wonders

        That’s the plan!

  • CorinneElise

    #conviction

  • http://lundieslife.com/ LundieP

    Thank you.

  • Doug Hutchcraft

    Another thoughtful post, Micah, great writing as always. As long as we are watching our hearts for bitterness, holier-than-thou judging, etc. it’s possible to love a person while passionately questioning how one’s faith could be real while at the same time so inconsistent in what they say and do.

    In President Obama’s case, while many pundits are wrongly very unloving and disrespectful in how they go about it, we have to be able to shout from the rooftops our outrage that a proclaimed follower of Jesus would so publicly go against his priority of “defending the least of these over the powerful” when it comes to supporting the slaughter of unborn children. In following the Apostle Paul’s example, we have to publicly challenge the embrace of sinful lifestyles that are an affront to God. Republican, Democrat, Republicrat, whatever – someone appointed to this level of leadership and influence will be held to “a higher standard” according to Scripture (Luke 12:48).

    Strong disagreement can easily morph into strong hate and bitterness, and that is never acceptable to God. But neither is a strong commitment to love morphing into a softening of hatred for sin. It was love AND sin that made the Cross necessary. As followers of Jesus, let’s be passionate about the entire equation.

    • Doug Hutchcraft

      By
      the way – I know I’m not saying anything you don’t already know here! I
      know you are a man serious about what it means to truly love Jesus, and
      I greatly respect that about you. Just contributing to the
      conversation!

  • Karen

    Thank you Micah, I’m a Brit so perhaps not qualified to say but I decided to read his books before he was elected and that sure changed my perceptions on his thinking. He is indeed a thoughtful and deeply committed person at every level. I think history will prove him a good man prevented from being truly great by a combative two party system that doesn’t serve properly those it claims to (we are pretty much the same here but co-alition politics are proving enlightening although not always successful!). Thanks for sharing your journey here it gives me hope for your nation, and therefore the rest of us.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I agree. I think there are certainly things to disagree with Obama about, but I do not believe him to be as evil as Conservatives love to paint him. Maybe history WILL tell?

  • BrennaDA

    Thank you for this. So much.

  • tarandfeatherthecrooks

    B Obama is accountable for his stance on Infanticide and other grievous behaviors. Jesus instructs those of us who follow Him to love the sinner and hate the sin, as God loves us and hates our sin. The photo used above was a contrived op for the Potus on his Re election campaign. The Secret Service would never have allowed that without it being a preset arrangement. Frankly, he is the Photo-op President, mostly using children as the props, except of course for any Planned Infanticide agendas. We are called to be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove.

    • http://www.shaneyirene.com/ Shaney Irene

      And what does any of this have to do with Micah’s post?

      • tarandfeatherthecrooks

        The post goes beyond loving the person and suggests overlooking accountability of the Leader of a nation. I could love my banker, but if he is robbing me blind I should pray for him and let him keep his job?

        • http://www.shaneyirene.com/ Shaney Irene

          You are reading more into this post than there is. It doesn’t suggest overlooking accountability. Also, you should keep in mind that everything Paul wrote about obeying government authority and praying for them was written when there were Roman emperors that were much, much worse than Obama in leadership.

          Also, nothing in this post says you have to let the President keep his job. You have the right to vote. If you don’t like him, vote for someone you do like. Other than that, the only thing the Bible commands you to do is love and pray.

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          Pray for him? Yes.

  • http://www.shaneyirene.com/ Shaney Irene

    Love this. LOVE. THIS.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/william.akers.944 William Akers

    My dear brother Micha; you get it ! Love looks beyound the flesh. we used to sing ..i see in you the glory of our King & i love you with the love of the Lord.. when we love we share God, because God IS love [1 jn 4:8]. when we hate & lie & share vicous rumors we share satan who is “the father of lies” & the accuser of the breathren [jn 8:44]. & 1 jn 4:18 There is No fear in love..Thank you for your inspiring post.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      You brought up something that I think is very important to remember… I often see Christians, in an attempt to hold our President accountable, go beyond “speaking out” to actually spreading lies and slander about him, in the name of “Christian values”. This is one of the main things that makes me so uncomfortable with talk radio, Fox News, etc.

  • colin

    just wondering if anyone here is familiar with obama’s history on abortion, as an illinois state senator, and as the president. recently he became the first sitting president to address planned parenthood, which proudly admits performing hundreds of thousands of abortions each year.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      As I mentioned in my story, I was a right-wing talk show listener for years, an anti-Obama voter, and a Tea Party supporter. I’m quite familiar with his voting record. None of that changes what I’ve written.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Hawkins/666368759 Brian Hawkins

    I like this, Micah. I like it a lot. My favorite is this short little paragraph:

    “Ultimately, my love for Barack Obama does not depend on his job performance, politics, personality, or beliefs. I love him, not because he’s a Christian, but because I am.”

    I would give one word of caution, though. I’ve seen you slowly lean toward the political left, and I’ve openly disagreed with you on several subjects. Considering your right-wing experience with talk shows and Fox News, I certainly understand better why you would be turned off by their hypocrisy and hate. But I want you to know that my own experience as a “conservative” (I’ve mentioned before how much I hate these “right-wing/left-wing,” “conservative/liberal” labels) is very, very different. It hurts deeply to be lumped together with, and accused of all the wrongs of mainstream republicanism. It’s ok for us to disagree, but please, please don’t let your own negative experience prevent you from hearing what I am actually saying. I too am a Christian, trying my best to love as Christ loved.

    Thanks again for this article.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks for commenting, Brian. I really appreciate it. That line was my favorite one too (if the writer is allowed a favorite line). That’s when I knew I could tie it all together.

      I appreciate your caution, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’d probably disagree with the notion that I lean toward the political left, only because I started so far to the right that and left-ward motion I do make still keeps me firmly in “moderate” territory. For what it’s worth, I consider myself libertarian on most issues, and that’s how I usually vote.

      It is difficult to find the precise words to critique certain political views and groups and subcultures, and to differentiate between these. I usually try to use the word “right-wing” when describing the political/media machine (FoxNews, Rush, Hannity, the GOP, etc) , and steer away from speaking negatively of “conservatives” per se.

      I do apologize for the times I’ve wrongly lumped you together with the “right-wing” and projected my disdain for that machine onto what you were saying. I know how frustrating that is. I’m sorry.

  • tarandfeatherthecrooks

    I see my recent post was deleted. Very interesting. Another format that whitewashes to the dictates of wishful thinking. Thank God Jesus didn’t operate like that. He loves us and actually invites us to dialogue with Him. “Come and let us reason together”.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Yeah, I did delete that comment. I love dialogue all day, as long as it’s friendly and on topic. I view this blog as my living room, and my readers as my guests. With that in mind, I try to keep the comments section a place for friendly discussion and debate.

      • tarandfeatherthecrooks

        You only “love it” as long as it accommodates the dialogue “narrative” that fits your liking. So, Mr. Murray, I wonder how accommodating you would have been if Jesus had been one of your guests and the subject matter and His truth had been offensive to you or the other guests? We know He still visits today. The message is love with truth. I pray earnestly that those who follow Jesus in the circle of our country’s leaders are bold enough to present those words of truth and deal with the discomfort which they may bring. “The wounds of a friend heal deeply”. I pray that there will be a moving of the Holy Spirit and that hearts will truly be convicted about the Sovereign Lordship of Jesus. Have a lovely time with your guests. Sorry to have ventured in and been the recipient of the “not welcomed” mat by one of your more adoring fans. But, you showed me!

        • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

          If you look through the other comments on this post (and any other post), you’ll see that I have no problem with people who disagree with me, call out Obama, etc. What I have a problem with is people who are rude and disrespectful to my other readers. Jesus wouldn’t do that. There’s a difference between truth being offensive and tone being offensive. Truth is always welcome here, as long as it’s presented in an attitude of love and respect.

          • RPT34

            Micah, I just have a question. How can you judge without seeing a person’s face what that person’s tone is?

          • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

            Tone can be communicated through written word.

            Re: Your deleted comments on other posts… I delete at my discretion any comments that I believe will make this an unsafe place for my friends. When a post is about specifically about NOT focusing on others’ sins and you choose to ignore that point and focus on your belief that they are sinful, that misses the point of what I’ve written. If you want to express your belief about Biblical interpretation, there are plenty of other places to share it. But trust me, nobody on this blog HASN’T heard that interpretation. So it’s not like it’s giving them new information or anything.

          • RPT34

            Micah, you have influence among Christians and unbelievers who need to hear the truth of the Gospel. I hope that at some point you will agree not to delete my comments. I put my trust in the Bible and in God, who has provided translations that are correct. My tone is just to say what the Bible says. I hope that at some point you change your mind and allow Christians to post their comments. The Lord Jesus Christ commands us to love people, but He also commands us to be obedient and to call people to repentance so that they will be reconciled to Him.

          • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

            I allow Christians all over the place to post comments. A quick glance should make that evident. It is the kindness of God that draws people to repentance, not the relentless citing of Bible verses.

          • RPT34

            Micah, how do we know about the justice and kindness of God except through the Bible? How do we know about repentance but through the Bible?

          • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

            I appreciate your passion for the Bible, but I honestly don’t believe that it will benefit anyone for you to continue to argue with my readers in the blog comments. I might continue to delete your comments at my discretion.

  • Cari Wagy

    Feel free to delete this comment once you read it… I couldn’t find a way to send you a private message. I really love this article and found this site from your post today on “deeper story”. I would love to forward this one on Obama to others. However, your site seems to be invected with something. My hubby is the IT person so I can’t give you a technical term but every few minutes or so, a popup comes up from my computer asking me “Do you want to open or save button.js from api.tweetmeme.com?” Of course, I hit “cancel” and hope that my antivirus is doing its part. Just wanted to let you know!

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Hey thanks for the heads-up, Cari! It turns out it was some sort of outdated plugin that was still active on my site. I disabled it just now, so try again and let me know if you’re still getting the same problem?

  • Donna McDonnel

    “Ultimately, my love for Barack Obama does not depend on his job performance, politics, personality, or beliefs. I love him, not because he’s a Christian, but because I am.”

    Thank you for this. I have been wrestling with the hate-talk for so long and it’s been making me slightly crazy. I needed some affirmation that I wasn’t crazy for thinking that my Bible said I was supposed to love not hate my enemies. So much more I could say but again, I just say thank you.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      Thanks Donna. It’s so important, and difficult, to makes sure that we balance disagreement and love. Love should always be our motivation though, never hate.

  • CMD

    “Ultimately, my love for ‘Insert Name’ does not depend on their job performance, politics, personality, or beliefs. I love him/her, not because he’s a Christian, but because I am.”
    love the message, and thank u, from South Africa.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s a hard thing to learn, but so important for those of us who follow Jesus.

  • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. this. Love it. I have always loved Obama. but then I’m his long lost biracial sister. so there’s that.

    • http://www.redemptionpictures.com/ Micah J. Murray

      This comment made me laugh. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Angela

    Thank you for this challenge. It shares many of the same sentiments I have called my fellow Christian conservatives to consider. I took the opposite path of you, beginning as a progressive/liberal due to my Christian beliefs about justice, poverty, humanity, but as I grew spiritually, God began showing me that love for people required both compassion and accountability, something I saw more consistently in conservative policies. I also began ardently pro-choice but when faced with the reality of science, I found I could not intellectually deny the reality of life. Sadly, the Democratic party leaves no room in its platform for anyone who is not pro-choice at EVERY stage of pregnancy. That said, I would respectfully ask you, as someone who perhaps now has the ear of the moderate left, to consider writing a similar plea to liberals for the treatment of conservatives with whom they disagree. I have listened with sensitivity & empathy to my friends & family who are Democrats cringe at the way some right wingers speak of President Obama or anyone who is liberal, not only personally attacking them and their families, but also as if they are all the fastest way to national destruction. There is no defense of such behavior. Yet, when I try to add that many felt similar disgust with the treatment of President Bush, VP Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, etc. by liberals/progressives, they literally cannot see the similarities, instead insulting anyone who supported these politicians as ignorant, hate-filled, & evil. Indeed, there is NO single person and their family who has been more mistreated, even by Christian progressives, than Sarah Palin. Let me state that, part from President Bush, I am not a fan of any of those mentioned, and have found myself in disagreement with them on various policies and issues, but I have tried to treat them with the same respect I have shown for Obama, Pelosi, Biden, etc. As you so eloquently put it, our love for people should not depend on their politics, performance, personality or beliefs. And, you are absolutely right that praying for them — sincerely praying for them — changes our attitude about them, regardless of which side of the aisle we sit on.

  • Nurse8493

    Love will conquer evil! Obama and anyone of us sinners can be forgiven and loved!

  • for life

    Sorry, I can’t go with you here. Any man who vociferously promotes legislation that would allow for someone to slit the back of an infant’s neck and suck out its brain – and this after already surviving an abortion – deserves nothing positive written about him.

    • Ecobaron

      Its for this reason that Jesus died for him. If God who created the whole universe so loved him and chose to take his place on the cross, why should I hate him because of some LEGISLATION?

      • RPT34

        I agree that the Lord Jesus died for the sins of the world. I think that we can refuse to endorse the president’s policies without showing hate for him.

  • http://abbyfahmi.com/ Abby Fahmi

    I’m just seeing this, but I wanted to say that I had a dream right before the election that I actually got a chance to sit down and talk with him, ask him ANYTHING I wanted, and he answered my questions (I don’t remember the questions. I guess that’s part of it being a dream that kinda sucks.), and at the end I gave him a hug, the dream continued with him winning the election and I was HAPPY about it. I don’t know why I had that dream, but it made me feel good to know that I was given a chance, if even in my own mind, to be reminded that the president is just a person, who makes mistakes like me, whose beliefs are always changing and being challenged, just like me. I don’t think it was a prophetic dream. I just felt better knowing that I was okay with him being the president and that I could still respect the difficult position he is in, in spite of the political stuff I disagree with.

  • Dusty Swink Counts

    Man, oh man…can’t wait till December! This is so good, Micah. So looking forward to having these type conversations in person. I come from a similar background and have come to similar conclusions. You express them so eloquently. (Just an aside…church yesterday was unbelievably awesome. Wish y’all were here already)!

  • thirdwaver

    Ouch! X 100. Father, change my heart.

  • Justjean

    Wow! Your sharing gives me hope…that Christians of all persuasions can listen to Jesus and learn to pray for their enemies. Having had a son in the military I was faced with extreme dislike for a President [I had voted for] for going into an unecessary war [Iraq] which to me seemed the height of sinfulness, and it ate me up for years. Worse, I then began observe other political decisions and relationships that truly troubled me and the dislike hardened into hate. But God knew this was bad for me and provided the cure. The solution for me was intercessory prayer – prayer for the then President.
    In praying I began to see that while the role of President is an important one, it is a very difficult job, that there is more going on in the nation, as well as in the President’s life over which they really have no control or in the case of Bush that he may have lost control over, but still the person is a child of God AND in authority, and on those merits alone deserves our prayerful support.
    My mom always used to advise: “Pray for your enemies…it improves them for you.” That probably was not an original quote, but it is definitely true.

  • Yelena

    Awesome, Micah, just awesome! Thank you!

  • Mark Buzard

    We should pray for him, but pray he truly finds Jesus as his Savior…… there is no way on earth he can be a Christian and be as anti-Christian, anti-God, and anti-Israel as he has been……
    And he IS arrogant and conceited. I have lost track of the times he has gone around Congress to do things he shouldn’t be allowed to do, but since everyone covers his butt so much, no one does anything about it. Judges have ruled against him on different things – i.e. closing down drilling in Louisiana – and he just goes against the judges. He is the most arrogant politician we have ever had, and kudos to you for praying for him, but he is destroying our country and our freedoms. And you sound just like him, knocking talk radio – he wants them shut down too….. he wants to shut down anyone who disagrees with him….. so wake up – maybe if you listened to those talk radio shows some – which I don’t much – you might know how arrogant he is, how he buddied around with terrorists, how he goes by Saul Alinsky’s playbook and destroys anyone who dares go against him. He needs impeached, and he has done enough to warrant it.

    Benghazi
    The IRS scandal
    NSA spying scandal
    He isn’t a good guy. He isn’t a good president.

    I tried to refrain from commenting, but when you had to toss this in with your top 10 posts, I decided to go for it.

  • vkstern

    Thank for your honesty. I too, stopped listening to FOX, and other stations 3 years ago and it was amazing how I started to hear my Shepherd’s voice even more on issues, but more, how I handled and viewed issues and people I perceived against my “values”. Its been rather freeing…I’m less angry and more loving. I’m less irritated, and more gracious. I still don’t understand much of what he’s doing in regards to ACA, but I can’t live in a place of resentment and mistrust constantly and expect God’s spirit to move freely in my life. I now, find myself, muttering prayers for him, where I used to criticize him. Its been a slow process, but a healing one.