If you listen to our 45th President, you know we are living in fearful times. Times of carnage. Violence. Hatred. Press that tries to mislead the public without shame. Paid protestors rioting in the streets for causes they don’t even care about. The integrity of our voting systems in utter shambles. Immigrants swarming our borders to rape and pillage our communities and resources. Our global neighbors and one-time allies in opposition to us. Our safety and security at imminent risk.
If you listen to DJT’s opponents, you also know we are living in fearful times. Persecution of vulnerable people. Desecration of vulnerable land. Corruption of the highest offices, including possible treason. A leader who seems to see himself as infallible and unimpeachable (both of character and under the law). Our leaders lying to our faces, refusing to combat said lies, or powerless in the face of them. The values our country is built upon, threatened.
This is some legitimately scary stuff, either way you slice it.
Peace, Be Still
As a Christian I am called to pray for “peace that passes understanding.” Such baffling peace is not something I can muster up. It is a gift from One who sees what is done in secret, who is the Enemy of fear and death, who exposes Truth and loathes lies, who loves all people with a particular concern for poor, marginalized, exploited, and displaced people. Jesus of Nazareth, whose teachings I aim to follow, taught his followers to return evil with good deeds and kindness. He taught reconciliation and radical forgiveness instead of eye-for-an-eye “justice.” He spoke of a mysterious, upside down kingdom where the rich and powerful could not peddle their influence but would need to submit themselves, humbly, in their service of others.
I feel heartbroken as I see that so few Christians seem to embrace what Jesus called us to. I say that as someone who fails daily as deep down I am selfish, fearful, prideful, and sometimes mean. But I am trying to love the things that God loves and to serve my role in the upside down kingdom. I am trying to make different, better choices every day and to let God make me more like Him.
To know that a supposed 81% of my fellow (Evangelical) Christians voted for DJT, and that tens of millions of Christians continue to support him despite his behavior over his first weeks in office– it is devastating to me. Not because I am an oversensitive millennial. Not because I am a sore loser. But because despite my prayers, conversations with others, and best efforts, I just can’t wrap my mind around the motivation of DJT’s supporters and defenders.
As an American only, I see his condemnation of a free press, his distain for the separation of powers at the core of our Republic, his contempt for the Constitution, and I feel shocked and appalled. But as a Christian, I am so grieved. This man deliberately opposes the values of Jesus. He cares nothing for truth, only believing and spouting his self-serving version of it (THIS IS NOT TRUTH). He boasts of his own grandeur, power, wealth, and brags about not asking forgiveness. He returns even the smallest perceived slights with shouted insults and taunts his opponents. His words and actions point to no concern for poor and marginalized people, but instead to his desire to elevate his cronies and monied interests. I do not believe that someone dedicated to “draining the swamp” would appoint a team of billionaires and lobbyists; these people seem more intent on burning the swamp down around us all.
DJT has not sprung any of his character upon the American people in a bait-and-switch. He has been who he is for years and years. He is doing what he did on the campaign trail and what he promised to do. Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals? He did that the literal day he declared his candidacy. Boasting about sexually assaulting women and cheating on his spouse? He did that a decade ago, that we know of, and last year dismissed it as “locker room talk.” Insulting anyone he dislikes, and accusing his critics of lies? Years and years of precedent. Espousing policies that are illegal under the Constitution? He campaigned upon them. Thanking minority voters for not voting in the 2016 election? He did that after his win. Painting refugees as threats to our safety? Complaining about a rigged system– against him in his wins and losses, somehow– riddled with fraud? None of this is brand new. And there are tens of millions of my fellow Americans, including Christians, who are clapping along and crowing with delight.
I’m sad. Or as DJT might say, “Sad!” I am struggling not to be fearful as I see American families threatened, American legal residents persecuted, American journalists maligned and attacked for trying to do their jobs… And an American President who, at best, is vindictive, deliberately uninformed, self-obsessed, and drunk on his power. This is not politics as usual. Our country is in crisis, and I find it chilling that so many of my fellow citizens are witnessing the same behavior I am witnessing, but considering it refreshing or even worth celebrating. I am afraid of where this man’s leadership will take us, and I am discouraged by the fact that I cannot see eye to eye with his many supporters. I feel powerless as I contact my representatives as so many of them seem willing to choose their Party agendas over the good of our country. I believe they will come to see the error of ignoring the concerns of their constituents. Support for a President who loathes the laws at the foundation of our country will not be remembered fondly. I hope.
In the midst of my fear, despair, anger and hopelessness, I remember the God who called me into His upside down kingdom. I remember that I have been called to faith, to hope, to righteous action, and to champion the cause of oppressed people. I remember that I need to forgive those who feel like my enemies and even more, to love them more than I love myself.
And I remember the promise that the Truth will set us free, so it’s worth speaking. The Light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. My help doesn’t come from earthly leaders, but from the Most High God.
I will keep praying for the nation whose citizenship I am lucky to bear. I will keep praying for our leaders including those I feel to be my enemies. I will keep praying for my fellow Americans to see the truth and to hold it in high esteem. I will keep praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ, to be united in following after what Jesus commanded. And I will remember that ultimately, my citizenship is not from any earthly nation tainted by evil in history and in present day. I will keep praying for peace that the world can’t understand, especially when I struggle to understand it myself.