Depending on your perspective, this past election was one of surprising jubilation, extreme disappointment, or quite possibly a mixed bag. For me, it was the latter.
On the one hand, Democrat candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was beat convincingly on her platform of murder, deceit, and corruption. We don’t have to go through the litany of Clinton’s misconduct as Secretary of State or her history in government service to know what kind of president she would have been. Because her character and ideology were defeated at the ballot box, I am quite pleased and, dare I say, proud that America rejected her and those like her.
It was such a shock to the main stream media, the Hollywood types, and political pundits, it would take amazing self-restraint to not bask in their disappointment. That’s wrong of me, I know. As a Christian, I should be gracious and humble. The Bible says in Proverbs 24:17-18, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.”
I admit this is difficult because America defeating Clinton and her ilk was such a surprising turn of events. Defeating evil is always a good thing. However, our attitudes ought to be of love and compassion even when the opposition has been soundly defeated. The Bible says to “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.
Whether my attitude was good or bad, I was excited that Clinton lost. That was my humanity. However, that was where my excitement also ended. There’s another side to this election that disheartened me. Like I said before, this election was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, Clinton was defeated. On the other, Donald J. Trump became President-elect of the United States. Trump, a man of dubious moral qualities.
Who is Donald Trump? Being born of a real estate tycoon, Trump inherited a fortune from his father. He took over his father’s organization and rebranded the real estate market in his own image. There seems to be a considerable number of events that led him to be the man he is today. From his own financial difficulties and bailouts, he has endured to this day as a business magnate and enigma. His book, The Art of the Deal, gives some insight into his character. He is a man in pursuit of his own goals without much regard for others. “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true,” Tony Schwartz (the ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal) said in the US News. “He lie[s] strategically. He [has] a complete lack of conscience about it.”
Trump has also shown himself to be a narcissist. What is a narcissist? “Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.” So, a narcissist is someone “who has an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” This latest statement comes from the Mayo Clinic through a study of mental disorders. But be honest, doesn’t this sound like they were defining Donald Trump?
Anyone who paid attention to the Republican caucuses, primaries, and debates know the personality of Trump that was on display. His conduct and the way he treated other candidates are clear examples of his narcissism. But there are other aspects to Trump, such as how he behaves around, and talks about, women. This is someone who lacks morals and decency. Women to him are objects to be used at his disposal. His attitude is demeaning and contemptible. An article by Cosmopolitan, though not completely unbiased, shows Trump’s own words in regards to women. For example: “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees.” Or: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” The NY Times also provides us a transcript of a time where Trump spoke about a woman in vulgar terms. A small sample and tame version of this conversation included, “Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Not very flattering and not very presidential.
As much as I can go on about Trump, this post is not so much about my disappointment with Trump as it is with Christians that unapologetically promoted him using Biblical analogies and references.
Question: What is the number one purpose of the Church and each Christian? There are a multitude of purposes such as teaching, worship, praying, serving, evangelizing, etc. But when you get down to what all these have in common and what is truly the ultimate goal, it is to glorify God.
In this past election, the western Church in America has abdicated its ultimate purpose of glorifying God in the pursuit of electing a president. Obviously this is a broad statement. Not every believer or every church took to this political election with such abandon. But it was a surprising number of professing Christians, along with some well-known theological leaders and pastors, that did. In this reckless abandon, these people did the Church, and ultimately our Lord Jesus, a disservice. They lost any credibility they had with their witness toward Christ.
Often Christians would defend Donald Trump using biblical references. One man, writing for One News Now, wrote how Trump was elected by divine intervention. In referencing Pastor Jeremiah Johnson, he believed Trump was going to be used to “expose the darkness and perversion in America like never before”. Seriously? Trump is part of that perversion and that was evident throughout his campaign. He also said “I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy.” Unless I have missed something, Trump’s platform on tax reform has very little to do with helping the poor and needy and a lot to do with helping the rich and affluent.
Many professing Christians commented on social media that Trump was like David or Moses. They argue that David and Moses were ordinary men that made mistakes and that God used them for great purposes. So God will use Trump as well. My problem with this is that David, Moses, and other prominent figures in the Bible were men and women that had a heart for God and His people. They ultimately trusted God and what He said He would do. God saw their faith in spite of their sin. Donald Trump has shown no such humility. In fact, he even mentioned he didn’t see the need for repentance only to backtrack later and say he hopes he doesn’t have to ask for much forgiveness from God.
Donald Trump should not be compared to the patriarchs and notable personalities in the Bible. Yes, those such as Jonah, David, Moses, Paul, or Peter were men who made mistakes. But God turned these uncharacteristically flawed men into vessels of honor for His purposes. God chose these men not because they were special but because God saw their faith and they trusted Him. As the Bible says, God creates certain vessels for honorable and others for dishonorable purposes, as per 2 Timothy 2:20. As of yet, we haven’t seen Trump do anything that shows his humility toward God or aspirations in being a godly man of moral character. It seems to me that if someone were to ask Trump in who he trusts, he would say, “Myself of course.”
Then there were those who put their trust in the hope that Trump would hold to his promises. What is it about Donald Trump and his not so distant past that would put that much confidence in his promises? Those with the American Family Association frequently commented how they believed Trump would place conservative minded judges within the Supreme Court and that he would be an advocate for the unborn.
To go a step further, Dr. James Dobson previously made the declaration that Donald Trump accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. What I find interesting about this is that no one that I know of has heard Trump come out publicly and declare his faith in Jesus Christ. Having someone else say it for you doesn’t mean much. What have we seen to date that shows us that Trump has humbled himself before Christ as his Savior? Even if he is a newly born believer, there should be signs that he is pursuing a relationship with Jesus. Am I wrong?
If Donald Trump is a newborn believer, it would be a mistake to place him in such a stressful situation as electing him president. New believers require time to grow and mature in their faith. The world and the culture are landmines to trip up and disable the immature believer. A person like this needs a church as an environment to grow. They need people to disciple him or her. They need accountability. They need corporate fellowship and the Word of God to help them grow. They need to grow into maturity and establish a solid foundation to be sent out in the world where the enemy of our souls is constantly attacking. Placing Trump in the most stressful position imaginable is setting him up for failure. That is, if Donald Trump has truly been saved.
I think many of these Christians and church leaders have done a disservice to the faith. In advocating for Donald Trump, they have only shown the world the kind of man they are willing to get behind to achieve their goals. Even if their goal of safeguarding our liberties and advocating for the unborn was their reason for supporting Trump, does the end justify the means? Are Christians showing the world we are willing to look the other way if only we are able to get something from it?
You cannot tell me there was no other choice. Yes, the most likely outcome was either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. With those two choices, Trump did seem like the better alternative. But that’s how the world thinks. If all Christians would have made a decision to get behind a third party candidate that had morals and values and maybe even godly character, the world would have seen that Christians hold to their values, doctrine, theology, and even their Christian witness. Honoring and glorifying God would “trump” supporting and electing a man of godless character.
Only time will tell what will become of Trump as President of the United States. But one thing is for sure: Christians lost their witness for God in this past election. The world has seen what Christians are willing to tolerate in the hope of saving some remnant of hope for this country. Is the United States and fighting for its freedoms more important than our service to God? That’s a difficult question to answer but it should be obvious. Who do we put more trust in? God or country?
Another thing we should consider: Israel cried out to God for a king back in the Old Testament. God wanted them to see all they needed was Him. But they continued to cry out for a king. So God gave them Saul. That didn’t turn out so well for him or for Israel. I have a feeling that it won’t turn out so well for Trump or the U.S. either.
It is true that God places authorities over us, even in the United States. Romans 13 tells us that. But that’s God’s doing. That doesn’t require Christians to surrender their values and make sure we help God along to get a man of questionable character into office. God could have easily had Trump win the election without Christians advocating for him. If God does have a plan to use Donald Trump to stave off evil within our country, then God’s will be done. But on the other hand, God could as easily have placed Trump as president as judgment toward the wickedness in this nation. Again, time will tell.
In the meantime, we all should get behind Donald Trump because he is our President-elect. God has chosen him to be the authority over the United States for a time and a season. We should pray that Trump is successful, not for his own selfish gain, but for the good of the country. Let’s pray that God gives him wisdom and discernment, the ability to choose right over wrong. Let’s pray that Trump holds true to his promises and the goals he has laid out for us. Let’s hope that his yes will be yes and his no will be no, meaning that he is a man of his word. If not, we should all hold his feet to the fire and hold him accountable. Given the damage from previous administrations, I’m not sure how much more this country can take.