In the last four years, things have gotten worse, not better. We have an ever increasing lack of civility in our political dialogue, as both sides of the cultural and political spectrums have become less and less civil and considerate. Both sides act badly, and both sides forget that we are called to respect the office even if we do not like the man. As Christians we must act and speak differently. As citizens of a higher kingdom, we are called to live differently. Scripture makes this clear.
For example, Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:17, Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king." Paul writes in Romans 13:1-7 to Christians living under Caesar that "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. 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 he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent 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 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.
Stern stuff. Let’s apply these verses. How do we react to the election of the candidate we didn't vote for? By humbly acknowledging that this is the person that God has placed over us, and by being subject to laws that are in place, and the ones that will get passed into law. The early Christians lived in a very different system than we live in today. Instead of free elections, Caesar's came to power through cunning and intrigue. The people had no say in their government. Yet, despite the fact that the system was flawed, Romans pointedly reminds us that we should submit to those who rule over us. They are in this position because it was instituted by God, and the next president will be in that position because it was instituted by God that they would win.
Christians, respect your leader. Love him hate him. Respect him. Do not forget that ultimately, he has been appointed by God, and as he governs he is due the respect and honor of his office. We may not like him, and we may be glad when his term is over, but we must honor him. If you struggle with this, know that I do too. But nevertheless, as we seek to live as followers of Christ and respond with gratitude to his saving grace, I say to you, and to myself, honor and respect the president, obey the president, pray for the president. For he is God's servant.