On Inauguration Day: Pray. Teach. Challenge.

By Matt Sapp

By Matt Sapp

The election is over, Inauguration Day is here, and I'm exhausted. It's been a long year, so if you’re like me, you’re ready to put electoral politics on the back burner for a little while.

Just because we've made it to Inauguration Day, though, doesn't mean that our Christian responsibility to be good citizens has ended.

So in the spirit of good Christian citizenship, here are three things I would encourage all of us to do as we inaugurate the 45th president of the United States.

Pray for our president. Pray for all of our elected leaders. And pray for our country. Our elected leaders will make important decisions this year that will affect the lives of millions of families across our nation. So pray for them.

And as you pray, pray honestly and equitably in a spirit of goodwiil for leaders of every political party and ideological stripe. At HERITAGE we dedicated an entire service to praying for President Trump the Wednesday after he was elected. You can read our prayer HERE.

We should consistently remind the world--and our political leaders--what it means to think and act like Christ. It is no longer true (if it ever was) that most non-Christians understand what Christians believe. In fact, after this election, non-Christians are more likely than ever before to be confused about what we stand for.

Many wonder if our overwhelming support for President Trump--81% of white evangelical Christians voted for him--means that we endorse all that he has said and done. That means we must be more clear today about what we believe than we have ever been.

To those who now have questions about the content of our faith, we need to be clear that we believe in marital fidelity and respect for women. We need to be clear that the single-minded pursuit of wealth is antithetical to our gospel and that our faith compels us to exhibit a bias toward the poor. We need to be clear that honesty, humility and selflessness are bedrock principles of Christianity. We need to be clear that Christ celebrates the meek and the peacemaker; that Jesus encourages us to turn the other cheek and bear one another's burdens; and that our faith demands that we recognize in ourselves the need to both forgive and be forgiven.

Even though we voted overwhelmingly for President Trump, we need to be clear that much of his behavior falls well beyond the realm of what we as Christians can endorse. In short, we need to be clear that we’re working to create a world that looks more like the Sermon on the Mount and less like The Art of the Deal.

If we aren’t clear about what we believe and intentional in how we present ourselves, our witness for Christ has the potential to be irreparably compromised. We have an urgent responsibility in 2017 to teach our fellow Americans and remind our elected officials--the vast majority of whom share our faith--what it means to live and think like Christ.

Finally, having clarified what we believe, we should challenge our president to reconcile his political agenda with the central tenets of his faith. 

We should ask tough questions about how President Trump's policy positions demonstrate concern for the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, and the stranger. And we should challenge all of our leaders to demonstrate in their personal lives the same Christ-like qualities of humility, obedience, service and selflessness that we seek to model in our own.

In 2017, people all over the world will be closely following the American political process. Candidates supported by evangelical Christians now have unprecedented power to affect change in our country. The only question is how accurately their actions and our voices will reflect Christ as they do so.