Five Ways to Help Our Kids After the Election

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Professor, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

We have just witnessed an unprecedented (and unpresidential) presidential election. How are our kids — five-year-olds, ten-year-olds, fifteen-year-olds — processing what has just happened? What are they seeing, thinking, and hearing as they watch the news and talk with their friends? 

I am a father of six, with ages ranging from seven to seventeen (three boys and three girls, three black and three white). I am also a husband and a believer in King Jesus. I went to the polls yesterday in grief. Yet my hope is in God (Psalm 42:5, 11). 

As dads and moms, we have the responsibility to help our children process this transition in United States history, and to do so with our Bibles open. How should Christians move ahead? I encourage you to take this opportunity to turn your kids’ eyes to the one reigning in heaven on our behalf. Here are five truths that we must remember and apply with our children.

1. Remember that God ultimately appoints every president. 

God appoints every member of government office and no purpose of his can be thwarted. “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). He alone is the one who “changes times and seasons” and “removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).

We rest today knowing that “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation” (Daniel 4:34).

2. Remember that God calls us to honor and submit.

God calls us to honor and subject ourselves to the human authorities when they do good. Paul is clear that, because “there is no authority except from God” (Romans 13:1), we must not resist what God has appointed (Romans 13:2), but must “pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7).

Peter stressed that we must “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. . . . Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13–14, 17; compare with Titus 3:1–2).

3. Remember that we must obey God rather than men.

Remember that if any governing authority asks us to sin, we must resist, choosing instead to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We do so in order that we may never “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

4. Remember that God tells us to pray for our leaders.

God calls us to thank God for our leaders and to pray for them, even when they abuse us. In Paul’s words, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings 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” (1 Timothy 2:1–2).

To this Jesus would add, “Love your enemies. . . . Pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27–28). Because God holds every human heart and controls every outcome, we must pray for him to act, for him to grant wisdom, for him to overcome, for him to mercifully save.

5. Remember where to find true freedom, identity, and hope.

Remember that our freedom is in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, and our hope is in God, who reigns forever.

In Christ, we are truly free, and no earthly state or government power can take this freedom away (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16). Similarly, “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20; compare with Ephesians 2:19). May we help our children “set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:7).

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. . . . Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. . . . The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 146:3, 5, 10).

I urge you, parents, to be intentional in guiding your children to see, think, and hear with a big God in view. He is ever on the throne, and he alone is our hope.