Through what lens should Christians view Trump?

Daily Readings: Joshua 11-12, Proverbs 11

If you love Trump and have even gotten this far to click on a link you saw, thank you! Before you read on, please take a few minutes to pray that God would allow you to spend the next three minutes reading with an open mind. Not an open mind towards what I have to say, but towards what scripture has to say. This isn’t a long read. If you aren’t going to take the full three minutes, feel free to just stop here. No worries!

We are in a world where not enough Christians spend time going back to the Bible for wisdom. We have a tendency to lean on cable news, talk radio and podcasts, social media, etc. As Christians, we have already been given the ultimate lens that we are called to return to over and over again to seek wisdom.

As a side note, I have voted for more Republicans over the last 18 years I have been able to vote than Democrats. I have some views aligned with each. This is not about that. This is not about tax policy, use of the military, health care, gun control, etc. You can be the most conservative person politically in the country. As a Christian, that does not mean you should blindly follow anyone who claims to be conservative as well. That does not mean that we should extol the virtues of anyone we feel is carrying the flag we align with.

I first wanted to write this post through a softer lens. I wanted to water everything down and not mention anyone by name in the spirit of not being seen as bias. I realized quickly that it would be far better to simply go to the Bible and let it speak for itself.

I am not going to tell you what to think of Donald Trump. I am simply imploring people to view Trump through the lens of what the Bible says and not through the lens of what Fox News, talk radio, or conservative social media says.

Let’s just look at a handful of passages from today’s readings alone. I will simply pose a question I would ask you to seriously consider instead of just brushing off after each verse. Come to your own conclusions.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

I simply ask you to ignore all commentary from any other source than the President’s own words. Go scroll through the last 4 months of his Twitter feed and ask yourself if our leader is leading with humility.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Proverbs 11:3

Again, ignore all commentary and simply scroll through the last 18 months of his Twitter and see if this appears to be a man who leads his life with integrity as the cornerstone.

“Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.” Proverbs 11:12

Again, no commentary. Just Twitter.

“The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” Proverbs 11:20

Simply put, Trump cheated on a former wife with his current wife and then cheated on her with an adult film star while she was pregnant. Trump himself denies none of this. I am not saying we do not all have failings in our lives. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and that is why Christ came in the first place. However, if you are a Christian Trump advocator, I would simply ask you if you have ever heard him give the interview, read the quote in the magazine, etc. where he showed genuine remorse for these actions. Have you seen him express his brokenness and how thankful he is for a God that gives second chances?

No. In fact he brags about these things.

If you are a Trump supporter and a Christian, I have a serious question I beg for you to consider: If Barack Obama had been discovered to have had multiple affairs, a tape came out with him talking in his own voice about how he just starts kissing women without even asking, how you can simply “grab them by their…”, and how he paid hush money to an adult film star to keep their affair quiet during an election; would major evangelical leaders rush to Obama’s defense and say, “We have all fallen short! These attacks on Barack’s character are completely out of bounds?!”

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 11:14

Here is a complete list of all of the advisors who Trump has either fired or who have resigned:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/list-officials-left-trump-administration/story?id=49334453

If you are still reading, thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

We live in a society where we tend to ignore any opinions that do not mirror our own or we simply read them with a closed mind and allow ourselves to be sent into a righteous fury over “how wrong this is!” I really appreciate you sticking with me.

It is ok to be conservative. Lots of my views are conservative as well.

That is not what this is about.

I will close with this:

“Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.” Proverbs 11:6

The only man we should place our hope in is the man who went to the cross to pay the price for our sins.

In our time here on earth, political parties will rise and fall. Leaders will be exalted and then torn down. Our ability to reach others for Christ is so much more important than a single election cycle. Our allegiance to Christ is far more critical than throwing our allegiance behind a certain political figure.

Let’s not ruin our testimony.

Let’s spend less time with cable news and hearing what they have to say and more time with the Word of God seeking after true wisdom.

Thank you for reading today. This one was scary to write.

Thought to ponder

What have I allowed to shape my views recently other than the Bible and Christian community?

Who do you throw your lot in with?

Daily Readings: Deuteronomy 17-18, 1 Corinthians 16, Psalm 50

But to the wicked person, God says:

“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.

Psalm 50:16-21

In the last post we explored the dangers of tribalism and how it can lead to a society of mockers on both sides of the aisle politically and not a society of people seeking to first understand before being understood, desiring to increase their own learning, and ultimately chasing after wisdom instead of simply attempting to win a debate.

Today our reading in Psalm 50 points to a deeper problem with tribalism that we see in today’s culture. In America today we are so prone to going to our own political corner and defending any candidate that will vote the way we want. If they say that they are Christian as well; all the better! We desperately want to believe that the people we are backing are not all that bad, are they?

In Psalm 50 God warns us of people that “recite his laws and take God’s covenant on their lips” and yet do the opposite. For as long as mankind has existed there have been con artists who will say they believe in God to curry favor with believers, even if all the evidence points to the opposite story. In today’s world we see so many politicians that seek to appeal to Christians and yet, see if this sounds familiar, “hate God’s instruction, join with thieves, throw in their lot with adulterers, use their mouth for evil, harness their tongue for deceit…”

This happens on both sides of the aisle and the damage can be eternal. By defending someone to a friend, colleague, or neighbor and minimizing some truly terrible things that someone has done, said, etc. we minimize our opportunity to have an eternal impact on their life. It is so easy for people to say, “If that is what being Christian looks like, defending that person, no thanks.”

Here is the reality, only Democrats can hold Democrats accountable and only Republicans can hold Republicans accountable effectively. When we rush to our corners to defend the immoral actions of people that fit our political beliefs, we ruin our own testimony.

In some cases, there are two terrible choices, and you have to vote for one of them. However, you never need to say that you actually support that person. You never need to defend actions that are indefensible. And once an election is over, you can use your voice to help positive change occur by holding your own side accountable to a higher standard of personal conduct.

Also, you don’t need to vote for either. You really don’t. If your party keeps nominating candidates that are morally bankrupt, you deserve better. You will never force your party to bring better candidates to the table if you vote for terrible ones. Every party needs a wake up call from time to time.

If you can find the passage in the Bible where Jesus talks about “choosing the lesser of two evils” or saying “the ends justify the means”, send it my way. So far I have been unable to find it.

In addition, if you ever hear a pundit, radio host, or news anchor defending the indefensible, turn it off. God has told us clearly that there are people who will claim his name, suggest that they are Christian, recite his laws, and yet in reality, “hate God’s instruction, join with thieves, throw in their lot with adulterers, use their mouth for evil, harness their tongue for deceit…”

As Christians we are called to remember that this is not our ultimate home. Our ability to minister to others and share the gospel has eternal implications. Let’s not throw it away with half the population by defending the indefensible, backing the flagrantly immoral, and throwing in our lot with thieves, adulterers, and folks that use their words to harness evil and deceit.

The world needs Christians that stand up and fight for what is right, not just for our own political positions. There is a difference between begrudgingly voting for someone when you feel like both choices are awful and then holding that person you voted for accountable by frequently speaking out and making sure your voice is heard; and actively defending indefensible actions.

At the end of my life, when I stand before the throne, I don’t want God to say, “You threw your lot in with them? What right did you have to recite my laws and have your covenant on your lips if that is who you defended with your words and actions?”

This world will eventually fade away, but our choices while here echo for eternity.

Thought to ponder

When was the last time I caught myself wanting to retreat to my own political corner and defend the indefensible? How can I be more aware when I am falling into this trap and remember that ultimately this is not our home and my testimony to others is far more important than a single election cycle.

The power of your story

Daily Readings: Deuteronomy 3-4, 1 Corinthians 9

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:19-22

This is the power of Christians who make a decision to be marketplace missionaries.

There are so many people out there in the world that are unaware that the God of all creation loves them individually and wants a relationship with them. So many people that do not fully understand the good news of the gospel that Jesus came to earth on our behalf and willingly paid a price that we could never pay so that we could be reconciled to our heavenly father.

The stumbling blocks in people’s lives that keep them from knowing God and embracing a relationship with him can come in many forms as Paul alluded to today. Just about any reason people have for feeling like “Jesus isn’t for them” gives us the opportunity to use our own testimony to bring people to Christ. There is power in relating on a human level and finding that you have more in common with another person than you originally realized. We all crave this connection and being understood.

Paul knew this.

Some people have too much guilt and shame in their life over actions from the past or actions they are currently engaged in. They cannot imagine a loving God would ever accept them. Fearlessly and authentically sharing challenges, mistakes, and sin issues you have also dealt with in your own life can have a powerful impact. We all crave authentic relationships and vulnerability but frequently don’t know we desire it until we see it modeled for us. This takes giving them the real version of your issues, and not just the polished up version that mainly deals with the saving grace with received from Jesus, but goes into very little depth on how far we had fallen. There is power in sharing the mess, in all of its messiness, and not just the “after picture”. Hearing how God worked in those areas can breathe new life into people who had previously believed the lie that they had already crossed too far over some imaginary line of no return.

Some people have overwhelming hurt in their life from a time where they felt that God abandoned them. It might have been something horrific that happened to them earlier in their life, a loss of a loved one, or something else that caused them say, “Why would a loving God…” This is such a tough place to be at, but one that most of us can relate to in some form or fashion. We have almost all been there at some point in our lives. One of the beautiful things that begins to happen when you live an openly Christian life is that you also begin to know the stories and testimonies of so many other people who also want to help others come to know Jesus. You may not personally be able to relate to someone’s specific story, but you can be there for them, truly listen and empathize, and get them connected to someone else who shares their story. There is power in realizing that other people have gone through what you are going through and that God helped them come out the other side.

Some people may have a distorted view of the gospel because of previous church experiences they had. They may have heard all forms of sermons about rules, regulations, and might have fallen into a belief system where all of your good works are on one side of that proverbial scale at the end of your life and every sin you have ever committed is stacked on the other. Hopefully your good outweighs the bad! Many have never heard the true message of grace. Many have never even heard the true gospel even though they grew up in church their entire lives. Again, many of us can relate to this and sharing your experience with someone else may just be the light bulb moment that they need.

As a marketplace missionary we have the amazing opportunity to be amongst people that have given up on “church” and also given up on Jesus without ever really knowing him. We have the opportunity to minister to people that would otherwise never be reached. So turn on your God radar today! For those that are filled with guilt and shame, share your guilt and shame. For those that hurt, share your hurts. For those that believe a warped version of faith, share with them the good news of the true gospel. Don’t be afraid to share every aspect of your life to reach someone.

If Christians collectively embraced the mindset that Paul had in 1 Corinthians 9:22 when he said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” imagine how many people would come to know Christ in our world!

Thought to ponder

What are powerful aspects of my own story that could relate to people who do not yet know Jesus? How can I look for more opportunities to “become all things to all people” so that I might introduce more people to Christ?

Do it while scared

Daily Readings: Numbers 21-22, 1 Corinthians 2

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 

Fear is one of the greatest weapons the enemy has that keeps many potential marketplace missionaries on the sidelines. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t believe me? What if they have questions I don’t have the answers to? What will they think about me if I bring up Jesus?

When it comes to people that do not yet know Jesus, Paul would argue you are exactly where God wants you to be in order to begin reaching out!

Paul came to the Corinthians in weakness, with great fear and trembling. His words were not wise and persuasive. He kept the message simple.

There is beauty in simplicity when talking to new Christians or people that do not yet know Christ. Paul was not trying to give huge lessons on church doctrine. He simply told people that this Jesus character loved them so much that he willingly laid down his own life so that they might have eternal life. He told that that Jesus was God’s son, came down to earth, was crucified for our sins, and on the third day rose from the dead. He came willingly for you and me.

We also see throughout Paul’s letters and through the Book of Acts that Paul is constantly referencing his own conversion story. He is constantly referencing how lost he was and how Jesus made himself known to Paul and radically changed his life.

When we are out in the world, and make the conscious effort to have our radar up, there will always be people that come into our lives who need to discover or rediscover Jesus. Our job is not to be perfect in the way we articulate church doctrine. Our job is to share our own testimony about what Jesus has done in our lives along with the simple message of the cross. God can guide us from there.

If we are willing to be used by God, he can do powerful things through us as marketplace missionaries. It is ok to be a tad bit nervous or even trembling as Paul said! Do it while scared. Action cures fear.

If we wait until we feel like we have every answer, until our fear dies down, until we “feel like it is the right time”, then we inevitably remain on the bench.

Jesus wants us in the game.

So have your radar up this week. Look for the people that God may have placed in your path for a reason. Don’t be afraid to share the gospel and your testimony over a cup of coffee with that person you have been nervous about talking to.

At first it is terrifying and then becomes easier and easier every time you do it. Eventually you realize that God has it under control and that the people you were so afraid to share with are not as scary as you pictured.

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Do it while scared.

Thought to ponder

What has kept me back from sharing my own story with others along with the simple message of what was accomplished on the cross through Jesus’ death and resurrection?

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