Most Christians are familiar with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Luke 6: 46-49). Christian voters: maybe your Trump house is about to fall with a great SPLAT.
Of course we Christians tend to relate to the wise builder. We have built our lives on the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly our house-of-faith could survive any tempest!
I’d like to challenge that. There’s more here than a chance for us to congratulate ourselves for being the good guy.
For example, do you know who Jesus was talking to when he told this parable? Jesus was speaking, not to Pharisees, but to his disciples (verse 20). That’s key.
Do you know what Jesus said – to his disciples – in the verse just before the parable?
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
This should give us pause! It’s possible to talk the talk, but not walk the walk (i.e. praying the Sinner’s Prayer is not the last box to check on the way to heaven).
(And this reminds me of another parable – the Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18 – in which Jesus addressed those “who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else.” Might this describe us? And if our answer is, “no, it describes THEM,” then we’re busted by our own words. Think about it.)
So Jesus continues the parable:
As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Trump-supporting Christians: is your faith-house strong?
You can only answer that question if you’ve allowed the storm to hit, full force. I submit that in this election season, pro-Trump Christians are refusing to honestly engage with the storm. The integrity of your house has not been tested – and I think you know it. I think you know that your house would go SPLAT.
I have tried to talk to Christian friends about Trump, and you generally refuse to really engage.
I say, “Trump is putting children in cages!”
You say, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.”
Here’s what we don’t talk about: Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in.” Jesus would not approve of children being ripped from their parents’ arms and put in cages. (Or maybe he would approve? Let’s talk about it.)
I say, “Trump is a racist! He wanted a Muslim ban, he said Mexicans are rapists, he snubbed Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, he stereotyped Jews and a Gold Star family, canceled racial sensitivity trainings, referred to some African nations as sh**hole countries, told Congress members to go back to where they came from, took 2 days to condemn the white supremacist incident in Charlottesville (and when he did, it was inadequate), etc.”
You say, “But he signed this executive order, and look at this job statistic.”
Here’s what we don’t talk about: Jesus wants us to love all people, even the ones we consider enemies. Period. Jesus would not approve of any of the above actions of the president. (Or maybe he would approve? Let’s talk about it.)
I say, “Trump’s response to the pandemic was irresponsible.”
You say, “Those numbers are exaggerated,” or “the pandemic is a hoax.”
Here’s what we don’t talk about: Jesus expects us to care for the sick – as though we were caring for Jesus himself. He expects us to mourn with those who mourn. Jesus would not approve of the president’s indifference toward the sick and dying. (Or maybe he would? Let’s talk about it.)
When you cut short a legitimate conversation (as in, “we’re never going to agree, so I won’t even engage”), you are refusing to test the strength of your viewpoint.
I know whereof I speak – for most of my life, I was unapologetically and unexamined-ly Conservative. It was only when I actually engaged with logic and reason that I realized my house was built not on Jesus, but on the sand of Conservative dogma – on a conservative, Republican interpretation of selected Bible verses that ignored Jesus’ clearest words: “Love your neighbor” and “care for those in need.”
I’m thankful for the day I finally decided that, whether my house will stand or fall, I must engage with the storm. That was the day when I stopped caring about being right and began to care about being Christlike.
If your house can’t take the storm, you need a different house.
So, Trump-supporting Christians, if you really think your Trump house is strong, invite the storm to come. Instead of ignoring, engage with those arguments that challenge you. If your mind starts to rationalize children in cages, ask it, what would Jesus do? If it wants to deflect a question or change the subject, refuse.
You owe no loyalty to Donald Trump or the Republican Party. You owe loyalty only to God and to yourself. Don’t call him “Lord, Lord,” and refuse to do what he says. Don’t feel confident of your own righteousness and look down on everyone else.
Will another Trump term see your tax dollars spent to put people in cages, or release them (Luke 4:18)? Will your government perpetuate the oppression of minorities, or to begin to make amends (Luke 4:18)? Will your leaders – on your behalf – ignore the needy, or to minister to them (Luke 10:31-33)? Engage with these issues.
Regarding abortion: is the end of Roe v. Wade what you want? Do you know that if Roe is overturned, abortion will still be legal in many states? Republicans are trying to make contraception harder to obtain, which means more pregnancies and more abortions. Is that where you want your government to take your country? Engage with that issue. (I’ve written a lot on abortion. Read this and this and this and this and this.)
Then, if your Trump-house falls, move into a new neighborhood. There’s plenty of room!
FEATURED IMAGE: “A few palm trees remain standing amid the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the city of Tacloban, Philippines” by DFID – UK Department for International Development is licensed under CC BY 2.0