Tomorrow, on January 20, 2017, the United States will swear in a new President. As most of the world watched in surprise, Donald Trump was elected to succeed President Barack Obama despite the numerous differences between the two men. After a very contentious election, many commentators were shocked that the United States would seemingly reverse course from eight years of liberal policies to a government that is expected to be very conservative in tone.
For many of my friends, the last two months have been times of extreme emotions. Those of the liberal mindset have bemoaned the election of Mr. Trump as nothing short of electing a dictator that could end democratic principles in the United States. Conservatives, on the other hand, are elated at their unexpected victory and have almost cast Mr. Trump into a messianic role—expecting him to save a nation they see as sliding further and further from greatness.
However, as most regular readers/viewers of Tomorrow’s World know, true Christians should not be swayed by these extreme emotions affecting friends and family who do not use the Bible as the foundation for their lives. This is because the Scriptures reveal that regardless of our human leaders and the changes they may or may not bring, Christians have universal responsibilities to their civil leaders.
The Bible directs Christians to view themselves as ambassadors of God’s government. This should help balance our interactions with our own civil government (2 Corinthians 5:20). It helps remind us that regardless of the political rancor in our nation, we have things we should be doing: obeying civil laws, paying taxes, and respecting and praying for our leaders (Matthew 22:15–22; Romans 13:1–7; 2 Timothy 2:1–2). These verses were written when a Roman emperor ruled over most of the Christian world—hardly a man most Christians agreed with about religion or policy!
Nevertheless, these verses are still difficult to follow today! There are many things the United States government does, and will almost certainly do in the future, that should not sit well with true Christians. Yet the Bible declares we are supposed to act the same towards our government regardless of many issues that most Americans focus on. The Bible says to pray for our leaders, regardless of their party or politics. The Bible says to show respect to our leaders, regardless of what they post on Twitter. The Bible says to pay taxes, regardless if those taxes go to paying for a wall, universal health care, military expeditions or a host of other government policies that we may or may not agree with.
This transition of power can be a good time for Christians to ask themselves if they are truly acting as Christian ambassadors. One example can be to evaluate how we Americans have done in praying for President Obama these last eight years. He has been president for over 2,900 days! How many of those days have we prayed for him? Even if it was a weekly prayer, that would still be over 400 prayers for Mr. Obama. I know I have some room for improvement.
Are we planning on praying more for Mr. Trump than we have for Mr. Obama? This question might help us identify a bigger issue we need to address in our lives. If we plan to pray more for Mr. Trump because we realize we need to improve our prayers regardless of who the individual president is, that can be part of everyday Christian growth and maturity.
However, if we plan to pray more for Mr. Trump because he is a Republican, then we still have a lesson to learn. If we allow politics to dictate how we follow the Scriptures, then we have allowed our nation to become a false idol in place of following the Bible’s plain instructions. Praying more for a Republican President than a Democrat President simply because of their political party shows us that we still have work to do, if we are truly to be Christian ambassadors.
True Christians will never completely agree with this world’s political leaders, but they will recognize that their obedience to God and His instructions for us concerning how we treat our political leaders are not based on party politics and which individual is in office.
Watch the telecast, “If I Ruled the World…” to find out more about what true Christians will be doing after Jesus Christ returns to bring real change.