“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, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth
~1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV-emphasis added)
I did not vote for either major party, but now that he is officially being inaugurated, it is my duty–as a citizen and a Christian–to offer respect to the office of President of the United States, no matter who it is.
I did the same for Obama, whom I disagree with vehemently on almost every subject. I felt the same way about Barack Obama that many of you do about Trump. I feared for our country’s future. However, over his eight years, I found more reasons to respect who he is as a person, and how he tried to conduct himself. I still think he mucked up the job pretty badly, but I found myself holding more and more compassion for him and the hard decisions he faced every day.
I would not want to be in his shoes.
And I will do the same for Trump. I have grave concerns about his upcoming term, how he will represent us to the world, and what his policies are really going to be. I shudder to think, in all honesty. I am disappointed that he won the election, but not devastated.
I refuse to be fearful. After all, it is not Trump who holds the future of this country in the palm of his hands. It is God Almighty, the Great I Am. In him alone I put my trust.
We don’t have to like or agree with our President to respect the office and the title. I never wanted Obama to fail. I do not want Trump to fail either. As the all-wise Internet says: That’s like wanting the ship we’re all on together to sink. I want to see my country grow and thrive, and so I will pray for my President. And I will submit to his authority out of reverence for God.
“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. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
~Romans 13:1-7 (NIV-emphasis added)
Romans was written when the Church was under severe persecution by the Roman government. And this was written to the Church. This was not written to some utopian Christian authority. This theme of submitting to governmental authority is woven throughout the New Testament. We can’t ignore it without consequences.
We have it far better than they did at the time. What is our excuse as believers for undermining and disrespecting our President? We have none.
Yes — speak out when the authority of man is in direct contradiction to God’s Word and standards. Yes — speak out and exercise the rights you have in this country to challenge your government’s bad policies and elected officials when they are wrong. But when you boil it down to brass tacks, you are called to submit and “slander no one” (Titus 3). We cannot pretend otherwise.
The worst case scenario is that we have to choose between obeying God rather than man. In that case, we must choose God, like the Early Church did. It may eventually cost us our lives, but we are not in such dire straits yet. So, lighten up a little, and keep your eyes on Jesus.
Even if we were in such a life-and-death situation, to live is Christ and to die is gain. And the command of God is clear: Submit to governing authorities. Give honor where honor is due. Period.
Grace & Peace,
Edited to add: John Piper said all this and more, far better than I could. Please take the time to read this too.