Two weeks ago I posted this title, “Trump and Jesus on Being a Loser: Part One of Three.” This post documents how Donald Trump as president has called various people “losers” and that his casino operator says “it’s his main attack word.”
Actually, Donald Trump speaks derogatorily of others in many ways just because they disagree with him. When Trump does this, he is pretty judgmental of others.
Jesus proclaimed in his Sermon on the Mount, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matthew 7.1-2 NRSV). Trump’s calling some of his political opponents “losers” has today come home to roost for him like Jesus says here.
Der Spiegel–a well known German magazine with close to one million subscribers–today named U.S. President Donald Trump Der Verlierer des Jahres,” which means “Loser of the Year.” The magazine then relates various reasons this label, all of which I think are true. Of all Europeans, Germans hate President Trump the most. Pew Research released its survey last year showing that 85% of Germans in Germany had no confidence that President Trump would do the “right thing” in world affairs.
Der Spiegel said in its article today, “Trump is only proficient in destruction.” Then it alleged rather alarmingly, “The West as we once knew it no longer exists. It is impossible to overstate what Trump has dismantled.”
Der Spiegel contrasted President Trump with President-elect Joe Biden by saying of Biden that he is “predictable, reliable and anything but a hothead. The most important thing is that he’s not Trump.”
When Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency, he had three main tracks that got him elected. The first was that he claimed Barack Obama was an illegitimate president because he was not born in the U.S. but in Kenya, which was a lie.
The second main thing that got Trump elected was that he claimed the U.S. needed a big wall-fence on our border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants, and if president he claimed he would build it and “Mexico will pay for it,” which was also a lie.
The third Trump claim that got him elected was that former First Lady and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton–who became his Democratic opponent to win the presidency–had committed a criminal act by using her personal email server and that she should be legally prosecuted for this, found guilty, and imprisoned. But the FBI did investigate this issue and exonerated Clinton of criminal activity in it. Yet at Trump’s many political rallies on his way to the White House, as well as during his presidency, he repeatedly has encouraged his political supporters to chant loudly at such rallies concerning Ms. Clinton, “lock her up.”
When Donald Trump exits the White House next January 20th, he will face a multitude of legal investigations in which he may be charged with having committed criminal acts. They include bank fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, illegal political campaign donations, defamation of character, and others. If found guilty of any of these, Donald Trump might have the chickens come home to roost by him being locked up instead Clinton. Again, Jesus said, “with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.”
Some people who read my blog accuse me of doing the same thing–being judgmental in my criticism of Donald Trump and thus a hypocrite. But this accusation fails to take into account what Jesus said next. He explained, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye?”
Okay, he means we should be introspective enough to make sure when we judge others that we are not doing the same thing we are judging them for and perhaps doing it far more, thus having a log in our own eye instead of just a splinter.
But Jesus then says further, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Therefore, when Jesus began this teaching by saying, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged,” he did not mean that there should never be any personal judging. Rather, he meant that if we are going to do such a thing, we should make sure that we are not guilty of the same infraction and perhaps much worse.
To say that we should never judge others opposes many texts in the Bible. God called prophets and equipped them to judge and rebuke in accordance with God’s principles and righteous requirements that became established in scripture. These prophets sometimes rightly did this to leaders of their nation Israel, including even the king during the monarchy.
Jesus also laid down a principle about judging that church leaders later came to realize they should invoke. For he said, “If another member of the church sins again you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone” (Matthew 18.15 NRSV). Thus, do it privately together. Then Jesus adds, “If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (vv. 16-17).
In conclusion, judging is not forbidden in the Bible, but being a hypocrite about it is.