On Wednesday morning, the political question for all of us changed. The time is past for asking, “Who should be our leader?” This question is now resolved, for good or for ill. Now we must now consider, "How does Christ call us to respond?"
We are already seeing many ugly reactions to the news that our next president will be Donald Trump. Anti-Trump protesters are rioting, and KKK members are parading. What are we to do? I think the columns by Ed Stetzer (in Christianity Today) and Russell Moore are both worth reading in this regard. In the same spirit as these pastors, I want to encourage us to pursue these distinctly Christ-like responses:
1. Pray for our new president and seek to honor him. 1 Timothy 2 tells us to pray for “kings and all who are in high positions,” and Romans 13 calls us to give respect and honor to those in positions of authority. This does not mean we are prohibited from questioning or criticizing our leaders. Our allegiance is to Christ, and all sin must be resisted. But in an age where the opposing party regularly seems to be rooting for a leader’s failure, followers of Jesus are called to strive towards having a government that rules well, no matter what we personally think of the leadership.
2. Seek first the kingdom of God. It is becoming increasingly clear that Christians do not have a “home” within any political party. This clarity is a good thing, because it spurs us on to maintain our unique identity as subjects of Christ, as a people meant to point the world to a better reality. We must redouble our efforts to embody the kingdom of God. Morally reprehensible behavior is being normalized; we will pursue holiness and integrity all the more. Amidst societal upheaval we will live out our allegiance to King Jesus by striving for racial reconciliation, showing radical hospitality to the refugee and immigrant, honoring and respecting women, advocating for the poor and the oppressed and the unborn, and repenting for where we have failed to do any of these things in the past. And in all of this we will invite people to join us in experiencing and extending the transforming power of Jesus.
3. Hope. Perhaps the most radical thing we can do as we are surrounded by despair is to hope—and not just to hope with blind optimism, but to hope with confidence. Because whatever the fate of this nation might be, God is still working his purposes out. The events of 2000 years ago definitively established that his grace has overcome evil, and it will continue to overcome evil. Christ is building his church, he is answering the prayer “Your kingdom come,” and no political upheavals or cultural changes can threaten that.
My favorite advice from Wednesday morning came in a simple tweet by a pastor named Scotty Smith:
My plan for the day:
Worship more than I worry
Listen more than I launch
Reflect more than I react
Love mercy, do justice, walk humbly with God.