President Trump. Now What?

Americans went to bed on Tuesday night knowing that about half the votes in the presidential election were cast for Hillary Clinton and half for Donald Trump. Of course Mr. Trump won the all decisive electoral college with 279 votes. As of this morning Michigan, Arizona, and New Hampshire are still too close to call.

We are a politically divided nation. At a church the size of The Crossing situated in a blue county in the middle of a red state we can be sure there are people who voted for Clinton and Trump. I voted for neither. For the first time since I turned 18 I went to the polls but didn’t vote for a presidential candidate.

Why does that matter? Well it matters to me because I take voting seriously and it was difficult to know that I was going to wake up Wednesday morning disappointed regardless of the outcome. Some of you think that I should have voted for one or the other and that by not doing so I neglected my civic duty. Maybe you’re right but I didn’t believe enough in either candidate (or their policies) to give them my vote. Other Christians made different decisions. Some enthusiastically supported one of the candidates while others “held their nose” and cast their vote for president. I respect people who took their vote seriously and made different choices that I did.

I tell you that I didn’t vote for either candidate because I want you to know that had Clinton won the election I would have written a very similar post this morning.

How Should A Christian Respond To Donald Trump Being Our 45th President?

Listen to those who disagree with you. We live in an age that encourages statements, arguments, and protests but not much listening. If you supported Trump, ask yourself why people were protesting in several major cities last night? What are they worried about? Why do they feel like outsiders in their own country? There’s probably a backstory. Can you ask questions and try to see the world from their perspective?

If you supported Clinton, ask yourself why the white working class voted so heavily for Trump? Why did those outside major metropolitan areas turn out to vote for him in such large numbers? Why did traditional Democratic states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin flip this election? Are they really racists and misogynists? Or do they have real fears about their economic situation? Are they tired of being overlooked by the “elites”?

There’s a lot of fear and pain wrapped up in people’s stories and it deserves to be taken seriously.

James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

My old-school grandmother used to tell me, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. That’s a hint. Listen more than you talk.”

When you ask questions, listen to answers, and believe the best about people, it doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with everything they say. In fact you probably won’t change your mind. But you will gain a better understanding and show respect to people that God loves and are made in his image.

Root For The Newly Elected President. I know that’s about the opposite thing that some of you want to hear right now. But hang on a second. While the Jewish people were in a hostile land (Babylon) and ruled by a despicable pagan king (Nebuchadnezzar), the Lord sent word to the people through the prophet Jeremiah…

Jeremiah 29:7 “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

I don’t think that it’s too big of a stretch to say that seeking the peace and prosperity of the city includes hoping that the president’s policies work out well.

In 1960, after John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon, staunch Hollywood conservative John Wayne declared, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president and I hope he does a good job.”

Join The Loyal Opposition. Every political party, every president, every government official needs to be held accountable. If you’re against some of the newly elected president’s policies, work through the political system to improve them or even prevent them from becoming law. Our democratic republic allows a place for those “out of power” to have a great influence on the country.

Don’t Confuse Political Power With God’s Kingdom. Christians too often think that our main interest is winning political battles. Our country’s greatest need isn’t political but spiritual. The church has often prospered most when it’s out of power. The early thrived under Roman Caesars who persecuted Christians. Today, the church in China grows in spite of political opposition.

God’s kingdom hasn’t stopped or even been slowed by any political ruler.

Christians, it’s okay to celebrate if your side won and it’s okay to mourn if your side lost. But too much mourning and too much celebrating might indicate that your hope is in the wrong place. No president will save us. No human leader has the wisdom or power to address our greatest needs. Every president, no matter how accomplished, is imperfect and flawed. They point us to Jesus. He’s the king coming to reign.

Unity Among Christians. Long before we are Republicans or Democrats, Progressives or Conservatives, we are Christians. Christians on opposite sides of the political spectrum have far more in common than we do with a non Christian whose ballot looked identical to ours.

Be very careful to not promote disunity. Watch your social media interactions. God is deeply grieved by factionalism in the body of Christ.

God Raises Up National Leaders. God raised up Cyrus, King of Persia, to accomplish his will for his people (Isaiah 45:13). Cyrus wasn’t a Christian. He wasn’t a good guy. But God raised Cyrus up and put him in power. (Same goes for Pharaoh by the way). If you had lived in Cyrus’ day you wouldn’t have seen God’s fingerprints other than through the eyes of faith. Whether or not you voted for him, can you trust that God raised up President Trump and will use him?

Pray For President-Elect Trump.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Paul encouraged the church to pray for the emperor Nero. So he’s not saying pray for those leaders you like or support or are good people. He’s saying to pray for all leaders in authority.

Pray for him and his family to come to know Jesus. Pray that he would exercise his God give authority to promote justice and do what is right (Romans 13:1-7).

All I am asking is for Christians to act like Christians.

3 Comments

  1. Todd S. said:

    Well said Keith. Thank you.

  2. steeve said:

    “ask yourself why the white working class voted so heavily for Trump?”

    Because they believed something that was factually incorrect. Look at the bills that will come out of congress – not one of them will have anything to do with the working class, in sharp contrast to bills that come out of a Democratic congress. Imagine the plight of lawmakers in 2009 who were told “my taxes are out of control” by people whose taxes were the lowest in a generation. What good is an injunction to listen to people who are just plain wrong?

    If you feel that the church is losing its standing in the world and are worried about it, this is why. God’s people are worse than other people at discerning truth. The age of the earth offers an easy parallel – millions of people on each side, yet there is one simple correct answer which you abstain from finding out.

    God’s sovereignty is not to be used as a cop out. When truth matters, even nonbiblical truth, it’s the job of the Christian to be good at finding it.

  3. Citizen said:

    Well, at least this was only a subtle hint of bias! I agree with some of what was written here, namely, the bit about actually listening to those that disagree with you, and not promoting “disunity.” However, it’s not surprising to hear in this narrative (sadly) the introduction of social classes that tend to only vote one way, and the comparisons to unsavory characters throughout Christian history. Also, furthering mentioning social “classes” (as if in this country we’re all part of some medieval caste system) in discussions like this (especially from a pastor) only proliferates divisive talking points pushed, primarily, by progressives. The title of this open letter (or whatever you want to call it) immediately reads like something a pundit would post to a left-leaning website aimed at coddling those “all-in” for Hillary.

    As Christians, we are called to love all people, not just those of a certain social standing, political ideology, or just those within our own faith. To that end, as a Christian, I’m disappointed to be reading more about political activism and the social divide versus God’s love from this post. This could’ve (and should’ve, in my opinion) been far more neutral in it’s delivery towards a church audience that’s perhaps nervous and unsure of what America’s future will be since the people chose a “political outsider” to lead the nation. “Join the Loyal Opposition??” What the heck is that?? This could’ve all been summed up very simply by stating, “Pray for your leaders. God is still in control. He’s still sovereign. He’s still on the throne.”

    Instead, this post borders on advocating for political activism “from the pulpit,” which I find distasteful and unnecessary. “We are a politically divided nation,” but we’re also one Church Body, something that was only vaguely hinted at in this post. Now, to those maybe wondering, I’m in the same boat as the pastor here, in that, I didn’t vote for either primary candidate. But I am one of the millions, stacked on millions, of people that are so fed up with the “If you’re not this, you’re that” divisive rhetoric pushed by political talking heads and unilaterally slanted ideologues! I’m one of millions that feel the government has become too intrusive into our everyday lives. And that after 8 years of living under an administration that has repeatedly usurped the Constitution and our religious liberties, we, the people, have had enough. At a time when, yes, there’s great political divide and social unrest, the Church was a place that I’d hoped to be able to go that offered rebuke to the turmoil in the form of unconditional love from the Father.

    Unfortunately, based on what I just read above, it’s more politics as usual in a place where it should be unusual. The Word of God is where we should place our hope, because it’s in God’s Word that we find raw, real, and unbiased truth. REAL truth is IMPARTIAL. A political ideology (any political ideology) is no substitute for a relationship with the Lord. So, I’ll ask a tough question…Who or what is the Lord of your life? A president? Political party? Social identity? Money? Power? If the HONEST answer to any of those is “yes,” I’d encourage you to reevaluate your priorities, and make Jesus the biggest priority in your life. Those of you out there literally weeping because a politician lost an election need to do some serious soul-searching. If anything, weep for the current state of our country, but take solace in knowing that we can find real hope through Christ in our lives.

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