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How to Be a Christian Citizen on Inauguration Day

Before the election I wrote an article titled, “How to be a Christian on Election Day.” Here is an updated version for Inauguration Day.

God is sovereign. Politicians aren’t. If your preferred candidate won the election, curb your enthusiasm. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and even the best human leaders fall far short of his justice and righteousness. “Our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). Only Christ can save us from the wrath of God, raise us from the dead, and establish God’s reign of love in human hearts. If your preferred candidate lost the election, remember that God is still in charge, and act like it! The Bible says that we are supposed to pray for all who are in high positions, and that was written in the days when no one voted for their leaders, and the leaders just lorded it over everybody! How much more then, should we pray for leaders chosen in a democratic process.

When talking politics, speak in I-language, not You-language. Words like, “I am pleased with the election outcome,” or “I am disappointed in the outcome” make one kind of statement. Tweets that read, “How can you idiots vote for _____?” or “How can even call yourselves Christians when you vote for _____?” say something else entirely. When we fly off the handle in anger, we are letting our lizard brains, rather than our thinking brains, call the shots. Our lizard brains are those parts of the brain where our fight or flight instincts reside. We need that part of the brain for reacting to a car that drifts across the center line, or a figure that jumps out at us from the shadows, but we don’t need to be speaking about politics from that place in our brains. Use your thinking brain instead. It’s that part of the brain God gave us that makes us human. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

Stay engaged. For most people, a presidential election is the only time they engage in the democratic process. That’s too bad. Be a Disciple Making a Difference by emailing your elected leaders, or attending a City Council meeting, or organizing a neighborhood watch group. Show up as a Christian first, and a Republican or Democrat or Independent second. You’re there as an ambassador of Christ’s unconditional and sacrificial love.

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