As you know, tomorrow is a big day for our country. Donald Trump will be sworn into office as the next President of the United States of America. Occupying that same big, white house and following in the footsteps of such predecessors as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson, all eyes will be on President Trump over the coming four years.
That’s the thing about leadership, kids- it’s a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. People watch their leaders closely. People listen. People mimic. Leaders set social mores and solidify cultural norms within their sphere of influence. It just so happens that the presidential sphere of influence is deep and wide.
But, guys, listen. As a new president steps into the oval office this week, and as we stand witness to the inevitable change he has promised over the coming weeks and years, I need you to know something. I need you to know that even the most powerful human in the world would have no bearing on your own moral code. And I need you to hear me when I say that our family will never be swayed or defined by behavior and attitudes deemed “normalized” by our society.
Kids, here’s the deal. This is how it’s going to go down tomorrow:
You’re going to wake up, and you’re going to get dressed and go to school. It’s going to be business as usual. You’re going to work hard and obey the rules and show kindness to your classmates. And then, you’re going to come home. And when you do, we will have a new president. And you know what? The American flag will still be flying, and our God will still be in control. Truth will still be truth. Our hope will continue to be firmly rooted in Christ. And our family’s rules, expectations, and norms will be completely unchanged.
Because, in our home, we will not live in fear of any leader or policy or perceived threat, for we know our Keeper, and we know that He alone is sovereign.
In our home, we will not place our faith in promises of economic change and prosperity, for our God is the manna-provider, and we believe in radical generosity no matter what.
In our home, we will throw open our doors to those on the fringes of society, knowing that those are the very people to whom Jesus gravitated. When the world’s eyes are closed to the outsider, our eyes will lock in and say, “I see you.”
In our home, we will be slow to speak and quick to listen. We will speak the truth in love and will use our words for good and not evil.
In our home, we absolutely will not support the normalization of anything that goes against scripture, no matter how counter-cultural this may be. We will live by the norms set by Christ Jesus Himself, chiefly love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
In our home, we will respect others. This means that we will respect our elected officials and those who voted for them. Likewise, we will respect those who stand in adamant opposition and who are mourning the transfer of power. We will look around and see our peers, colleagues, family, and president through the lens of the gospel, recognizing that we are all broken sinners in desperate need of grace and mercy. And that not one of us can be saved by our own merit or goodness.
Listen, kids. Learning to lead well is so very important. Still, our lives do not rise and fall based on the power of any earthly ruler or authority. And no role model, no matter how charming, competent, or smart, is worthy of our complete allegiance.
So, in summary, I guess my message is this: Don’t be like Donald Trump. Or Abraham Lincoln. Or Rosa Parks or Malala Yousafzai or Steph Curry or Beyonce. (Though, let’s just be real. If you’ve got pipes like Bey… I claim lifetime first row seats at your concerts.) Don’t strive to be like Moses or Peter or Paul. And if you have your mom and dad on some pedestal, I hereby give you permission to knock us down. Because, you know what? Every one of us is deeply flawed, and we’ll all ultimately lead you astray.
Carson. Mary Grace. Elizabeth. Hang with me; this is important.
In our home, we will always, always point you back to Jesus. You’ll see plenty of leaders and influencers come and go. So, go ahead and take note of the good. Of the ways in which they lead with excellence and model what is right. Meanwhile, don’t forget to learn from the bad. From their mistakes and missteps.
But, at the end of the day, remember- any good you see in this world is found in its fullness and completion in Jesus. And kids, no person is ever, ever too broken for His mercy.
There’s only One who keeps His promises every. single. time. One who loves perfectly, no matter the sacrifice or inconvenience. One whose kingdom will never, ever fade and who will be worshipped by every nation and tribe, color and dialect.
And I have one clue for you: it is certainly NOT our president.
So, let’s land there tomorrow, kids. And every single day that follows.