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Former President Barack Obama was widely censured by Christians, and now, President Donald Trump is being likened to Hitler. This is how we should respond.
Former President Barack Obama was widely censured by Christians, and now, President Donald Trump is being likened to Hitler. This is how we should respond. (White House)

This is a question on a lot of people's minds right now.

Are we, as Christians, allowed to criticize the president? And if we are, is there a line that can be crossed?

Is God displeased when we criticize the president, and if I choose not to criticize him, is that my silent approval?

Social media is extremely toxic right now.

Many who support President Trump are calling out those who don't. And many who are against President Trump equate him to Hitler and the Taliban.

It was no different with President Obama.

Christians criticized his looks and called him Hitler ... they called him an idiot, stupid and all sorts of degrading names (something I often spoke against), just as many are doing with President Trump now.

The question is, does this cross the line?

The Bible actually has much to say about this, and later this year, we'll delve even deeper into this issue of criticizing and mocking, but today let's look at what the Bible says about criticizing our president.

In 1 Samuel 26, David finds himself in a situation that may would consider favorable.

He finds the place where Saul is camped out in his hunt to kill David. Saul and his men are in a deep sleep, and here is David standing right over Saul.

Saul's spear is right next to him ... the setup is perfect!

David—by all accounts—has a right to kill Saul. It would be considered self-defense. Saul has spent all of his time and energy hunting David down to kill him like a dog; David has done nothing but run for his life for months now.

With just one blow, David's life could change. He'd be a hero, he'd be free!

But, instead, he chooses to do something probably no one understood, and surely no one agreed with: He chose to save Saul's life.

But lest you think that David was on Saul's side, this act was less about Saul and more about David taking a stand for God.

David understood a biblical principle many of us have forgotten today.

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. it is He who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings" (Dan. 2:20-21a). 

David knew that God had chosen Saul to be king, and to lift a hand against him would be lift his hand against God's anointed, an act that comes with serious consequences.

But how does this relate to today? No Christian would ever think of assassinating the president! Right?

Jesus makes a curious statement in Matthew 5 that I think bears looking at:

You have heard that it was said by the ancients, "You shall not murder," and "whoever murders shall be in danger of the judgment." But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, "Raca," shall be in danger of the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, "You fool," shall be in danger of hell fire (emphasis mine).

What Jesus is saying here is that though the Old Testament law condemned a murderer to death, New Testament covenant takes this commandment about 10 steps further.

New Testament covenant goes past a person's actions and straight to the heart. And "... out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45).

Jesus is saying, if you show contempt for a person (Raca, which is Greek for "blockhead" or some other similar degrading word) and with your words seek to destroy their character ("You fool!"), you have literally murdered that person in your heart.

Your anger and contempt for them are equal to murder in your heart.

Criticizing the president's policies and attacking a president's person and character are not the same. David didn't agree with the things Saul did. He wasn't on Saul's side politically.

But David understood that he had to separate Saul's actions from his position. Although he was in complete opposition to Saul's actions, he had to honor Saul's position.

By honoring Saul's position, he was honoring God. So to lift his hand against Saul would be dishonoring God.

And, my dear friends, nothing has changed today. While we may have criticized Obamacare or the many executive orders he wrote, while we may be extremely opposed to President Trump's order to close our borders to certain countries, we must take great caution that our opposition to his policies doesn't turn into opposition to him. As Christians, we must learn to separate the president's actions from his position.

We may be opposed to his actions, but we must never lift our words against his character or his position.

To do so is very displeasing to God.

I am not for President Trump. I disagreed with some of his positions when he was campaigning, and I'm sure I will find myself in disagreement with him many times over the next four years.

Neither am I against President Trump. I am for God. 

And because I am for God, I will do all I can to please God.

I will stand for truth every time, even when it brings me opposition:

  • I will stand for biblical values.
  • I will stand for family values.
  • I will stand for moral values.

I stand for God, not for man.

And because I stand for God, I cannot raise my words against any man, his person or his character.

No, a Christian should not criticize the president. He may criticize a president's actions, but a Christian should always hold honor and value of a president's position and character in his heart.

For it is God who made him rise to that position. And God will honor those who honor their authority.

Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her Bosnian hero. Together they live with their two active boys where she enjoys fruity candles, good coffee and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. Her passion for writing led her to author her best-selling book The Missional Handbook. At A Little R & R she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. You can also find her at Missional Call where she shares her passion for local and global missions. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

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