The results of the 2016 presidential election have left everyone in a state of shock. Nobody expected for Donald Trump to win. All of the polls and news outlets were telling the American people that Hillary would win by a landslide and they were terribly wrong.
Regardless of who won, I thought the election day would bring a sigh of relief to both sides. Finally, America would have her new president and the people could say goodbye to the campaigning fiasco this past year has given us. It was exhausting to listen to both sides argue back and forth and it and was an emotional roller coaster. People were posting on social media lobbying for their candidate of choice every day (some may say annoyingly everyday). That’s why I thought the general population would have a breath of fresh air once the election was finally over.
Unfortunately, things only seem to have heightened as a result of the presidential election. Individuals unhappy with the results have taken to the streets in violent protest. Now, I get it. I didn’t vote for Trump. I didn’t vote for Hillary. I was unhappy with what both had to offer me. Whether that be issues of trust or issues of character; both candidates didn’t meet my criteria for what would make a good (or even adequate) president.
With all that said, I think how people are responding to the election speaks volumes to their own personal character, integrity, and beliefs. I’m not saying this to ridicule “one side” and praise “the other”. I think there are improper reactions from all angles. I simply just want to make a few observations about how Christians can and should think through the election and how to respond in this moment of obvious disappointment.
#1: Christian, You’re Freedom is Used for Obedience
I am so grateful to live in the United States. The freedom to love and serve my God with minimal obstacles and persecutions is an act of divine grace. Previous saints, and even unbelievers, have shed their blood so I can read my Bible, minister to the church, and proclaim the faith in a public arena. The author of Psalm 119 speaks of freedom from persecution for the purpose of continued and unhindered obedience to God (vv. 134, 141, 143, 145-46, 157). We have the privilege of freedom and should use it to grow in Christian virtues (Gal 5:23). Christian, use your freedom to fully express your obedience to God; not rebellion to the authority He has placed above our community.
#2: Christian, The Recent Election Exposes the World’s Inability to Satisfy
The fact that both major parties presented candidates that were terribly unsatisfactory is evidence that the world cannot satisfy. America has prided herself on being on the cutting edge of progress. In the eyes of most secular worldviews, our society is pushing the boundaries of progress in technology, society, and culture. We are supposedly, the best of the best. As the best and most progressive society in the world, how could we have ended up with these two candidates?
Believers should allow the disappointment of this year’s election to deepen their love for the Gospel and the eternal hope it offers in the face of a twisted generation. The Gospel offers rest and peace. The Gospel has dealt with the greatest acts of rebellion, sin. These acts of rebellion were righteously judged when God crucified the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, despite bearing the weight of man’s sin, Christ rose from the grave to offer eternal hope to the hopeless. No more reliance upon government, but reconciliation to God. No trust in candidates, but faith in Christ.
#3: Christian, Biblically Respond to Your Government
The Bible is not silent in reference to how Christians ought to relate to their government. Christians are told to pray for leadership (1 Tim 2:1-2). We are even told to submit to government officials (1 Pet 2:13-20; Rom 13:1-7). This act of humility is in itself a reflection of Christ-like submission (1 Pet 2:21-25). This is a radical statement that requirements immense wisdom and prayer with how it ought to be applied. It’s easy to say submit to government, it’s hard to apply when there may be blatant instances of foolishness or ungodliness. In short, believers need to show their humility through prayer and obedience.
Thankfully, we live in a country where our disagreements with government can be properly expressed and the people have avenues to bring about proper and real change. Therefore, if Christians want to see change we can do it in the way that government calls for change.
#4: Christian, How Can the Election Encourage Gospel Proclamation?
Everyone is talking about the election. Everyone. Issues of ethnicity, gender, economics, and religion are discussed everywhere. As a Christian, we have an obligation to boldly speak and present the gospel. We are called to show how the Bible and the Gospel is absolutely relevant. The Gospel shapes the way we think about ethnicity, gender, economics, and politics. Jesus Christ, having lived 2000 years ago, is still relevant with the events today. My encouragement is to sit down and think through how all of these social issues find redemption in the Gospel. Then, be ready to speak when given the opportunity in the community. It is unbiblical to think that the Gospel is irrelevant on a rainy day. The Word of God vindicates its power when it sustains and encourages the saint through life’s deepest troughs and darkest nights.