The close of 2016 brought one solitary moment of silent disbelief as Trump was dubbed the victor of, arguably, the most polarizing election in our nation’s history. I think liberals and conservatives all up and down the aisle were in some form of stunned disbelief that Donald Trump was going to be The President, like, in real life. The whole nation…maybe the world, unanimously murmured, “wha….? {silence}?” And when that brief moment of shock passed and reality began to sink in, so defiant rage and prideful ecstasy erupted across these supposedly “United” States of America.

Now before we go any further here, I should disclose that my vote was not cast for Hillary Clinton nor was it cast for Donald Trump. In fact, as the election drew closer, I was not silent about voting 3rd party and voting conservative. The election also fostered in me an old ideal that we may need to seriously consider a legitimate 3-party system. The divisiveness of our two-party structure seems to be escalating to dangerous levels. But that’s probably a discussion for another day.

We are so blessed to live in the land of free speech and free election but as I spent some time in 1st Peter, I began to wonder – At what point did believers elevate national privilege to a higher status than that of our holy duty to submit?

1 Peter 2

13 For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil.17 Respect everyone, and love the family of believers.Fear God, and respect the king.

Scripture makes no bones about it. Submit.

Submit to The-Sovereign-God’s-Appointed-Ruler. The “state,” just like the “home” and “the church” are all God-ordained institutions and the believer is commanded to submit and pray. (Rom 13:6, 1 Tim 2:1-4) If we say we fear God, then we also must say we respect the king (v. 17). For in doing so, we preserve the moral order established for our good. Of course that isn’t even the primary reason to submit.

At what point did believers elevate national privilege to a higher status than that of our holy duty to submit?

When we submit, we willingly silence our grumblings which in turn, just might silence the mouth of the opposing complainer. “It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.” Could it be that if we freely and wholly surrender ourselves to the result of the democratic process, we might bring our Divided States back into “The United States of America,” aka “One Nation, under God?” Does anyone believe it’s even worth the try?

As compelling as that notion is, it still isn’t the primary reason we choose to submit.

The primary reason for submitting is that God is glorified in us when we do. We obey “For the Lord’s sake.” We live in holy order. We live obediently. God is glorified. Let me put it another way.

When we perch ourselves on our soapbox to grumble publically about God’s appointed ruler, we are in blatant disobedience. Yes, believer, even when we grumble about something as seemingly righteous as education, SCOTUS or the refugees, our actions are completely counter to what God’s word commands of us in scripture. God knows the flaws and weaknesses of every leader in the entire world, for all of history. Nowhere does God give us allowance to whine about it, and certainly not day-in and day-out for weeks and months on end.

Now, please don’t hear me say we should be passive about defending the defenseless just because our Ruler Du Jour happens to have a different moral compass. Certainly not! That, too, would be counter to Scripture.

We're Right!

Psalm 82:3 “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. 4 Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.”

Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”

If we take a hard look at ourselves, many of us have no choice but to admit that we have done little more than complain about the current administration and use the defenseless as an excuse to do so. These verses above do not say “complain about your rulers for by doing so you help the helpless.” No, it is saying we need to do the work. Do good. Help the oppressed. Rescue them.

It is reasonable to assume that the believer who is putting their hands to good work doesn’t really have time to tirade on social media or at the local coffee shop. They are too busy helping the helpless and too wise to fall into the trap of uselessly and arrogantly ‘monologuing’.

If you find yourself coming to a similar conclusion about yourself, I ask only one thing:

Until you can speak from the experience of actually defending the hopeless, choose to silence yourself.

Trump Supporter, silence your arrogance and your pride. God is not glorified in that behavior.

Trump Detractor, silence your arrogance and contention. God is not glorified in that behavior.

Now that we’ve freed up our time from all of the complaining, we actually might have the space to do something to help our fatherless neighbor kid, or volunteer at the local Pregnancy Care Clinic, or hand out blankets on Skid Row or start a letter writing campaign to Washington DC, or support the missionary who is working with refugees on the other side of the world. Let us be glad our administration is flawed. It gives us the opportunity to reap the glorious benefits of giving of ourselves to those in need. By choosing this path, we believers are obeying lots of scriptural mandates but most importantly, God will be glorified in us.