At the risk of further upsetting an already-rickety apple cart, there are a few groups of people I wanted to talk to in light of the election of Donald Trump. I think it can be just as harmful for a Christian to say nothing as it is to say the wrong thing, so while I may have some imperfect words here, I think they’re still worth saying.
I hope you find they’re founded on Scripture and seasoned with grace.
Here are some sincere words to five different groups of people:
1. To the People Who Think the World is Ending:
We’re all aware of the promises by celebrities and citizens to flee the United States if the election ended in a Trump presidency. The suspicion that the sky might be falling remains post-election day. And while the campaign had some unprecedented rhetoric, this is not the most divided our country has ever been (we actually had a Civil War once), nor is this the most volatile campaign that’s ever been waged (our candidates used to shoot at each other with guns). A student of history will note that this is not the first time for such panic.
A student of Scripture will also note that even if the world were ending, we are not without hope. You may not like the election results, but as a Christ follower you need to make sure your hope is secure in Christ (Hebrews 6:19) and do not tremble at the prospect of having a president you don’t like. We should only tremble at the presence of the Lord (Psalm 46:6, Philippians 2:12). Take heart, Christian.
2. To the People Making Fun of the Grieving:
That said, if you are among those who don’t understand why some people are not overly enthused about the direction of our country, you may live in a bubble. Some people wept in light of the election. Some people struggled to focus the next day. Not all of those people are whiners or immature. If they are, so was the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah looked at his culture and saw something other than God’s best. It led him to tears. He’s actually known as the Weeping Prophet. He wrote a book called Lamentations. Would you heckle Jeremiah? Should you make fun of him, too?
If you’re bashing a cross section of the demographic who are processing out loud something they think is not God’s best, you should probably stop — unless you want to take on the likes of Jeremiah also. Perhaps the biblical advice to follow is found in Romans 12:15, where we’re told to mourn with (not demean) those who mourn. Don’t heckle the hurting. Be kind, Christian.
3. To the People Who Think They’ve Found Salvation:
For every American who is unhappy at the election results, there’s one who is thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that some have bought into the lie that everything is going to get better now. Bad guy out, good guy in. Problem solved. The ignored population of middle American has found their White Knight.
Except there’s only one White Knight in the Bible (Revelation 18), and He does not live in Manhattan.
As a Christian, we cannot forget that salvation — for individuals and nations — comes only from Jesus and not from politicians (Acts 4:12). Soon enough, someone you don’t like will take office again and undo all the policies that you favor. It is foolish as a Christ follower to get too excited about who your president is, just as it’s foolish to excessively mourn.
Read Isaiah 12:2 if you’re fuzzy on where you salvation will come from. Maintain perspective, Christian.
4. To the People Not Like Me:
I am a white Evangelical. Most people like me elected Donald Trump as our president. He got the white vote and the Evangelical vote by wide margins. But there are a lot of people who aren’t white and who aren’t Evangelical, and this is for you.
Folks in my tribe who generalize and stereotype and belittle folks like you are wrong to do so. I hate it. I’m sorry. It’s terrible. When we paint with a broad brush we usually aren’t painting a masterpiece. Heaven is said to include people of every tribe, tongue and nation who have bowed their knee to Jesus (Revelation 7:9). I want America to be like that, too, and I’m sorry you feel unwelcome sometimes.
By the same token, please don’t do what you so often fall victim to and stereotype and belittle people not like you. The folks who elected Donald Trump are not your enemy. They don’t all hate you. They aren’t all fear-mongers. You have not been treated well, and for that I personally apologize. But don’t return evil for evil. Instead, repay evil with good (Romans 12:17). Focus on the perfection of Jesus and not his imperfect people.
5. To Everyone:
If there is one thing I am seeing and hearing that I reject the most it would be an almost universal lack of empathy. God gave us two ears and one mouth, but we’re living like it’s the other way around. People don’t often put themselves in other people’s shoes. If we’re upset, we don’t see how anyone could not be upset. If we’re reveling in victory, we can’t tolerate people who are grieving in defeat. Only our views are the correct views. Other views are the enemy!
As Christ followers, no matter how strong our convictions, we must model an empathetic ear for the people with whom we disagree. If we can’t figure out how to disagree we will rip each other apart, and the damage will be irreparable. Church — we must loosen our political affiliations in favor of clinging to one another as brothers and sisters, even on points when we disagree. Even on points when we disagree strongly.
We may be collectively sharper than ever with our minds and mouths, but our hearts seem to have grown dull. This is the greatest tragedy of all.
I’ll leave you with the words of Jesus, since mine undoubtedly have fallen short: