What Should We Do About Trump?
In 1 Timothy 2, the apostle Paul writes to the church in the city of Ephesus. He tells them how they should treat their political leaders.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good and pleasing to God our Savior." 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (ESV)
Paul says the people of the church honor God by praying for their leaders. Those who follow Christ are to pray for their leaders and the problems they face in leading the nation. Followers of Christ pray for their leaders to make good and wise decisions so we can lead peaceful and quiet lives.
The first reaction for many Christians frustrated by our president is to pray against him, not for him. We are quick to ask God to strike him with a meteor or pray for his impeachment.
When we read Paul’s strong command to pray for our rulers and their leadership, we dismiss those words as not applying to our president. We reason Paul was just telling the church to pray for the good leaders they already enjoyed. Paul certainly wouldn’t tell them to pray for the successful leadership of a president like Donald Trump!
Do you know who was ruling Rome when Paul penned this letter? It was a man named Nero. Let me tell you about him. He didn’t like Christians. He threw our forefathers to the lions to watch as they were eaten alive, yet Paul told the church to pray for him. Nero took our forefathers and tied their limbs to ropes. He tied the other end of the ropes to four horses. The horses were whipped and sent in different directions leaving our forefathers in Christ without arms and legs as they died, yet Paul tells us to pray for this leader. Nero took our forefathers and rolled them in tar. He strapped them to poles, then lit them on fire while still alive so they would serve as human torches to light his parties, yet Paul told the church to pray for that leader. Nero murdered his own mother that brought him to power. Nero murdered his wife, Octavia. Some ancient historians claim he murdered his second wife, a woman named Poppaea, by kicking her and the unborn child in her womb to death. That was the character of the man who ruled the Roman world when Paul penned this letter. Paul says the church was to pray for him and the problems he faced so he would govern wisely and effectively so that they could live in peace.
As Christians, if we claim to love Jesus, if doesn’t matter if we like President Trump or not. The Christian response is first that we pray for him, not protest against him. Our first priority as followers of Christ is to pray for the good and wise leadership of our president and the complex problems he faces, no matter our political persuasion.
If we think our president is too evil to be worthy of our prayers, remember the early church was commanded to pray for the leadership of Nero.
(This article was written for the Dickinson County News.)