On January 20th, the United States will inaugurate its next president. Some of you might be happy with the choice voters made on Election Day, and if that is you, congratulations. But this post, is for those of you who may be struggling with liking or respecting the new occupant of the White House. You’re probably asking the same question roughly half the country asks every 4 to 8 years. How do you handle it when you really don’t like the president?
First and foremost, remember that we live in a free republic. If you’re in high school and weren’t old enough to vote in this election, you’ll be old enough in the next one. If you feel like this president doesn’t represent you or your views, you will be able to exercise your right to vote and cast a vote against him. You can also join political action groups and try to convince your friends to come around to your viewpoint. These are things we are free to do in a democracy that has freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press.
While obvious, those options are just some actions you can take. What about how you feel? How should you cope with a leader you don’t like?
For most of you, it probably isn’t the first time you’ve faced an authority figure that you didn’t like. Ever had a teacher you just couldn’t deal with, yet you had to go to class every day and sit through what seemed like absolute torture? Right now, your teachers have more power over your life than the president does. In fact, when you’re out of school, your boss will have more of a direct impact on you than the president, and the mayor of your town probably will, too. Presidents set national policy, but there are other authority figures, some you will like and some you won’t, who will affect you on a daily basis more than anyone in Washington D.C. So, take a deep breath, and look at the bigger picture. Have you had leaders in your life before that you had trouble respecting? Handling a president you may not respect is similar.
In the first century, the Apostle Paul wrote to people who were facing a similar issue in Rome. By the way, if you want to see some crazy people in authority, just open a few history books. Some of these Roman emperors liked to watch animals eat prisoners just for sport. Paul’s advice was to always remember that God is above all who are in power over us. You may have teachers you don’t like, or a boss you don’t like, or even a president you don’t like, but God is still in control even when we disagree with those in authority. God is in control even when our authority figures treat us unjustly or unfairly. Next time you are frustrated about authority figures in your life, or in Washington D.C., try going to God about it. Tell Him about your frustrations. He is always willing to listen, and he understands. Nothing you have to say to him is out of line. He loves you unconditionally, with a perfect love that people on earth can’t achieve or even comprehend.
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