Freedom is one of the greatest things that America is known for—something most other countries don’t have. We have freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble peacefully, freedom to petition our government, and freedom of speech (the first Amendment to the Const.). Freedom is a very good thing, a gift from God, but it can be abused and misused. For instance, we have the freedom to say anything we want about anyone, verbally or in print; but if what we say is disrespectful and unloving, this is not helpful. Disrespect of anyone is not good, especially if we are talking about authority figures—like the President.
UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE OF RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY FIGURES
1. We are required by God to submit to (and to have respect for) authority figures, because they have been established by God for our good. Consider the following passage in Romans 13:1-5:
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 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
2. The above passage tells us that all who don’t submit to their authority figure—President Trump—are rebelling against God and will bring judgment on themselves.
3. We should pray for those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says,
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior.
Do you pray for President Trump? What do you pray for? Would God be pleased with your prayers? Remember, God put President Trump in the position he is in, so we ought to be praying that he would be used by God to accomplish His will. Verse two says that we should pray so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
4. We are to show proper respect to everyone, especially to those in authority—like our President. 1 Peter 2:13-17 says,
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
IT IS UNBELIEVABLE HOW MANY PEOPLE IN AMERICA—OUR OWN COUNTRY—HAVE SHOWN DISRESPECT FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP
In the Scripture passages above, the words used for the attitude we should have toward our authority figures are the following: submit, fear, respect, honor and obey. As I thought about this, it seemed to me that many who talk about the President these days—especially the media institutions such as CNN and the New York Times (and many others)—treat the President in the opposite way that they should. So let’s take the three words, respect, honor, and submit, find the antonym of these words, and see if this describes the way many people are disrespecting the President.
Respect (admire, esteem, revere). The antonym is …
Disrespect (contempt, insult, belittle, put down, impudence, sassiness). Do you see this attitude toward the President? I sure do. Many from certain news organizations refuse to address the President properly, as Mr. President or President Trump. And the tone of their speech when they talk about him is usually very insulting, sassy and belittling. Sad!
Honor (respect, admire). A good antonym is …
Scorn (ridicule, sneering, mockery, reject, disregard, hate). When everything people say toward the President is negative and mocking, they show their hate and dishonor of the President. So so many people are blogging and tweeting about what they think of how bad the president is; his bad character, etc. That is so disrespectful! We must not do that, anymore than a child should talk about their mother or father—as well as to the police, or the governor or the mayor, or anyone in an authoritative position; for they are servants of God and it is our duty and responsibility to honor them as His servants.
Submit (yield to, obey). This may seem to be going too far, but yet Romans 13:1 tells us that “everyone must submit himself to the governing authority.” The antonym is…
Resist (fight, oppose, challenge, refuse to go along with). Isn’t this the Democratic strategy: resist, resist, resist. The Dems seem to resist everything by voting against everything, even if it’s something good for our country.
EXCUSES: FOUR REASONS PEOPLE USE NOT TO RESPECT THE PRESIDENT
1. “I respect the office of the President, but I don’t have to respect the President.” Really? Anyone can respect the office of the President. It doesn’t take any sacrifice to respect the office. And can we really separate the office of the President from the President? I don’t think so. More importantly, the Scriptures that we looked at said nothing about the office; they spoke of the person in the office. This excuse has no validity.
2. The “s _ _ _ hole” scenario. You may be saying, we certainly should not be compelled to respect a person, especially the President, who says those kind of vulgar, racist words!
Well, whether he said those words or not, the bible (in Romans 13:1-5) tells us that “there is no authority except that which God has established.” For God’s own reasons He has set up all authority, and we are required to respect and submit to that authority. And by the way, the letter to the Romans was written most likely in A.D. 56, which was during Nero’s reign (A.D. 54-68). Hence, Paul was well aware that Nero was the authority in that day and was telling the people that they must submit to the authority of Nero who was appointed by God.
Now do you know what kind of a person Nero was? Very bad!! Much worse than President Trump!
3. But we live in a progressive culture. We live in a free country and can say and do as we please. This is America. It’s what we have become. That is not a good excuse. You are describing how evil we have become. Years ago, as I remember, most people were very respectful of the President. But those days are gone, sad to say.
HOW TO RESPECT THE PRESIDENT
We can begin by praying for him. Pray for his good. Pray for his family. Pray that he would have wisdom in all his work and dealings. Pray for his health and strength and endurance.
Secondly, listen to what he says and try to understand the direction he wants to go with the country.
Thirdly, review the Scripture passages on how to regard our authority figures and try to understand that God has given us Donald Trump as our President.
Fourth, reject all blogs, tweets, news video clips, and conversations where people are talking disrespectful about the President. That is not helpful. Instead, do whatever you can to lift up the President in your conversation. This will be pleasing to the Lord.
Fifth, if you disagree with anything the President says or does, I would suggest praying about it privately. Nothing else is appropriate; for he is your authority figure sent from God.