Angry Adversaries All Around. What Are We To Do?
All around us are deeply distraught supporters of Hillary Clinton and angry adversaries of Donald Trump. Engage family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and co-workers about the election and you may stir up a hornet’s nest! We see frustrated protesters, hostile celebrities, disillusioned students, angry politicians and TV personalities refusing to accept the outcome of the election.
These people are experiencing real pain and confusion. Many have valid offenses due to Mr. Trump’s un-Christ-like behavior and questionable remarks during the campaign. Others don’t know what else to do but lash out with inflammatory speech on social media or with press releases and televised interviews, issuing threats and bombastic tirades.
As Obedient Followers of Jesus, How Are We to Respond?
Recall the inspirational campaign of years ago where Christians wore flexible wristbands with the initials W.W.J.D? It served to remind us of our call to be imitators of our Lord in speech and conduct. In our current cultural climate where intense hostility and the opportunity, to vent cruel, slanderous falsehoods and stereotypes as the “new normal”, what should be our response?
Four Divine Directives Contrary to Mainstream Culture — These are directives, not electives for dealing with the situations in which we find ourselves today. We must not be wimpy “evanjellyfish” who are spineless and have no convictions or courage to stand up for what is right. Jesus Himself dealt with individuals like Herod by calling him a “fox” (Luke 13:32) and he called religious hypocrites “serpents” (Mt 23:33) and “whitewashed tombs” (v. 27). But should we speak our minds to obnoxious and offensive people? We are called to have “the mind of Christ” (Php 2:5) in dealing with difficult people — never contentious and un-Christ-like (read 2 Tim 2:23-26). What are the radical instructions given us by our Lord? “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who spitefully use you” (Lk 6:27).
1) “Love your enemies” – “Try to live at peace with everyone” (Rom 12:18). My Christian convictions cause some people to view me as an adversary. As much as I’d like everyone to like me, Jesus said, “Woe to you when all people speak well of you” (Lk 6:26). But this does not justify being obnoxious, argumentative or mean-spirited. We must “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21) and express genuine love toward those driven to tear down Trump. This may mean simply smiling and graciously walking away from a conversation.
When NYC gang leader Nicky Cruz threatened David Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade), “I’ll cut you into a thousand pieces if you keep telling me about Jesus!” David replied, “Cut me up in a thousand pieces and every one of them will keep telling you that Jesus loves you, Nicky.” The Spirit of God came upon Nicky Cruz, and those convicting words led to his miraculous conversion.
2) “Do good to those who hate you.” Confused and resentful individuals who hate us for our identification with Christ, for the recent GOP victory, or anything else, need to be on the receiving end of our understanding, mercy and the forgiveness of God.
3) “Bless those who curse you.” When I hear outlandish, downright wicked statements from supra-liberal media pundits, entertainers and the like, I’m tempted to rise up in anger and say nasty things to the TV set. The Holy Spirit usually catches me and prompts me to pray for them, which I do despite my resistant “flesh.” This releases God to move in them and me. No matter how hardened some may seem now, none of them are beyond the pale of God’s love. Many raised in the Christian faith are prodigals, May Christians’ prayers and kind behavior help bring them “home.”
4) “Pray for those who spitefully use you.” In or attempts to extend God’s love to confused or bitter Trump detractors, our efforts may be rebuffed and we may be hurt or offended. May this not hinder our resolve to do the right thing in the right spirit (Jas 2:13). Years ago my family and I experienced a deep injustice in a ministry I had served for decades. When an expose’ in a national publication was about to be released, I felt the Holy Spirit constrain me to release it all to Him and to pray a blessing over each of the men involved. I will never regret taking the high road at that defining moment in my life. God gave me Job 42:10: “And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
At this critical moment in our nation’s history, we Christians are being called to be His “ministers of reconciliation” to bring healing to our land. Make a quality decision to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Begin with the very people He brings across your path this week.