January 20, 2017.
Today Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.
And today I had to stay off social media, because in the first three minutes I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw one too many “#notmypresident” and “#stillnotmypresident” and “#dumptrump” hashtags.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about supporting free speech. I understand that regardless of who would have won the previous presidential election, people would have been pissed. And I also get that there’s several people who deeply dislike Donald Trump, and there’s many understandable reasons why.
However, as of today, the bottom line is this: whether or not he was your first pick, Donald Trump IS your president. As long as you are a citizen of this country, as long as you keep living your life and working your job and raising your family in America (no one is forcing you to stay here if you’re that upset, by the way), Donald Trump is, in fact, your president. And continuing to say that he “isn’t your president” and that you hope he fails in office makes about as much logical sense as telling the captain of your ship that you hope he crashes the ship into an iceberg. At least as you’re drowning and the ship is going under you’ll get the sweet satisfaction of saying “I was right”.
I think it’s high time, especially considering the fact that Donald Trump is now the official leader of this country, that we stop digging in our heels, refusing to accept reality, and bashing the highest office in the world; wouldn’t it be much more effective to start covering Trump and our entire government in prayer? I’d be saying the same thing if Clinton had won- shouldn’t we cover the office of the President of the United States in prayer, regardless of whether we agree with or like whoever that person is? Wouldn’t it be much more effective to have heated discussions with those who disagree with us (that’s the beauty of the freedom we have here) while also understanding that differing opinions still merit our respect? Wouldn’t you think that more people from the opposing viewpoint would actually care to listen to what you have to say and why you disagree if you stopped telling them that they are all racists and bigots or liars and frauds? Wouldn’t you think that the cry for tolerance would be extremely more effective if people actually demonstrated a bit of tolerance for those that disagree with them, and maybe tried to give the new president a chance before calling him a failure?
Regardless of what side you take and what your political viewpoints are, I believe that as Christians we are called to submit to authority- even when we don’t like it.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1).
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” (Titus 3:1).
That means that the office itself deserves respect- regardless of the person who is currently in that office- because it is an authority that God set in place. If for no other reason than to obey and honor the Lord, we are called to submit and “show proper respect to everyone” (1 Peter 2:17). Christ submitted himself to the governing earthly authorities to the point of death; if anyone had the right to be self righteous and “above” authority, it was Christ. But he submitted himself to the point of death and did so without retaliation. We might do well to heed his example. The only time we shouldn’t submit to an authority is when that authority is asking us to do something in direct contradiction with God’s word. Bottom line: as Christians we are called to submit to authority. Including to the office of the President of the United States of America.
This also raises the question: what about “bad” or “evil” leadership? How can we possibly submit to those leaders who we see as evil? “…Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12). Leaders aren’t above the Lord; at the end of the day, He is still in control, and each and every person on this earth will stand before the Lord and be held responsible for their choices; He “will repay each person according to what they have done” (Romans 2:6). Including the President of the United States. And including each of us. NO ONE is above the Lord.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to submit to leadership and show class and respect while also standing up for what you personally believe in. In fact, I would say that is still one of our greatest responsibilities. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Of course we need to keep seeking justice and fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. Of course we need to keep having debates and arguing for what we believe to be right and just. I would argue that it’s possible to keep standing up for what we believe in while also giving the highest office in the world the respect it deserves- and you’re much more likely to get others to listen to your argument if you do that too.
Bottom lines: authority is established by God, authority deserves respect regardless of personal opinion, each person is held personally responsible to God, God is ultimately still in control, and you can stand up for what you think is right while also showing respect and class to those who disagree.
And more than anything else, we all need Jesus. A whole lot of Jesus. Why not start backing up the President of this country, hoping he does his job well? Why not surround our government and our leaders in prayer? Because last time I checked, as of this morning, as long as you are a citizen of this country, Donald Trump actually is your president.