Today is the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States. As a sure sign that I’m getting older, he will he the 13th President to govern since I was born. And 6 of them served 2 terms!
I plan to watch the Inauguration. It’s fascinating to see history unfold before your eyes while sitting the warm confines your home. It’s interesting to hear the opinion of the talking heads and reflect on their commentary. And it’s intriguing to see the interaction of political foes who for one day seek to be civil to one another. At least, that has been our tradition.
It will be interesting to hear what tone President Trump will vocalize for his term in office. What values will he espouse? What agenda will he pronounce? What vision will he articulate?
So, what should be my response to our new President?
Regardless of your political party or preference in this past election, or even the lack thereof, as Christians we are called to attitudes and actions that rise above a selfish, sinful, secular world. Consider these Bible exhortations as they relate to Christians, their leaders and their government.
1 Tim 2:1-5
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…
1 Peter 2:13-17
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…. it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full-time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Based on these exhortations, these 9 principles should guide our response.
1. Pray for President Trump. Pray for peace. Tranquility. And an environment conducive to goodness and godliness.
2. Be respectful of the President and the leaders of our land. Pejorative remarks and unkind epitaphs are unbecoming to followers of Christ. Disrespect coming from any of our politicians does not give us the license to respond in kind.
3. Show honor. Paul not only taught it. But practiced it in his interaction with ungodly rulers like Felix, Festus and Agrippa.
4. Obey the law. Our disagreement with enacted laws do not give us the right to violate them, unless they conflict with God’s divine laws (Acts 5:29).
5. Pay taxes. Will taxes decrease over the next four years, as promised? Maybe. Maybe not. What should I do? Pay them! Be honest. Be honorable.
6. Do good. Be good. Live godly. Be the salt of the earth. And the light of the world.
7. Don’t use your liberty as a license to sin. Or a cover up for ungodly attitudes. Or a cloak for malicious talk.
8. Be true to your spiritually trained conscience. Don’t violate what you know to be right.
9. Glorify God. We are merely foreigners here. We sojourn. While we have obligations to our elected officials, God is the One we serve. Honor. Fear. And He is why we rise above pettiness, ugliness, and harshness.
Certainly I have the right to disagree with policies. To petition for change. And to preach the Truth. But may it be done with the attitude of Christ, a spirit of love, and words and actions that honor King Jesus.
Finally, it is well to remember that our new President is not the last, best hope for America. Jesus is our hope. The gospel is our message. And conversion to Christ is ultimately what the world needs. Now.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman