Hypocrisy in Patriotism’s Clothing
The recent lewd and embarrassing developments in the Trump campaign have sent many evangelicals scurrying like roaches when the light flicks on:
Do we stick by our guy Trump?
Do we distance ourselves from his bigoted, racial, and sexual assault comments?
Do we say that we object to the disrespect of women, but champion his right to be forgiven?
Many evangelical responses have landed somewhere between:
“I forgave him.”
“I support his concerns, not his values.”
“We’re voting for President of the United States, not a Pastor or Sunday School teacher.”
What strikes at the heart of many evangelical responses is the remarkable benevolence of grace and forgiveness.
Well, isn’t that what Jesus is all about?
Sure, in a very special and specific context: For God so loved the world, not just the GOP’s world.
Donald Trump’s Grace vs. Bill Clinton’s Damnation
Let’s start off with good news. God gifted the human race with His grace, without respect of race, gender, political affiliations, or our favorite people.
Here’s why that’s so important: There is no man-made vetting process to access the forgiveness of God. God has not placed the keys to His grace in any human’s filthy hands. There is no one to kiss-up to, no one to give money or favors to, no one to please or displease.
And the main people to declare and display this truth to the world should be the Ambassadors of Jesus Christ!
And conservative evangelicals are doing a good job of it – for Donald Trump, that is.
The will of God to show forgiveness to others, be gentle and kind to one another is in high gear when it comes to Trump.
Where was this level of graciousness for Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, or even today?
Though Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, me, and you have all fallen short of God’s will – when will “evangelicals” have a fair and balanced voice for all, regardless of political parties?
Double Standards Are For Double-Minded People
While Bill Clinton’s indiscretions in the 1990’s were out of order and disgraceful, can anyone help me remember such a gracious and forgiving evangelical community for him – then or now?
Where are the displays and words of grace, like:
“He is a decent, wonderful man… Let him know you feel his pain.” – Newt Gingrich referring to Henry Hyde, Judiciary Committee Chairman presiding over Clinton’s impeachment, after news of Hyde’s own marital affair.
“If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.” – Mike Pence during a recent Liberty University convocation.
“But, you know, the Bible tells me that we are all sinners saved by grace and I don’t think there’s probably a person alive that I know of that hasn’t made some mistakes in the past.” – Steve Scheffler, head of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition.
Bravo, Christian leaders?
Repentance is Appropriate for Hypocrisy
Perhaps some Christian leaders have confused political goodwill, e.g. supporting a candidate who now claims to be anti-abortion or a protector of religious freedoms, with Kingdom goodwill – displaying the love, grace, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ no matter the person or political party.
Or, perhaps some Christian leaders are so caught up in preparation for media interviews and talking points, they’ve forgotten that God elevated them to make Jesus famous – not serve as Bill Clinton’s accusers day and night.
One of the saddest verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:21-23 (MSG):
“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with Me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’’
Will this passage apply to you, evangelical leaders?
You’re seemingly busy doing so much “work for the Lord”, that you’ve left Jesus’ work on the cross on the back burner – or worse yet – you’ve applied the redemptive work of Christ only to those you like or respect.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot and your candidate has displayed a plethora of qualities that are anti-Jesus’ character, why not go back?!
Apologize to Bill Clinton and any others you repeatedly attacked, defamed, or treated as unworthy of God’s grace – all the while coddling your friends, donors, and political allies for the same or worse behavior.
King David could put Bill Clinton and Donald Trump to shame with personal failures; the difference is when David asked for forgiveness, that was the beginning – not the end – of his repentance journey. Repentance is not about lip service or repeating words that someone gives you. A parrot could do that.
Take honest inventory of the many “turned cheeks” given to Donald Trump, and how, to this very day – kind, forgiving words for Bill or Hillary Clinton get stuck in your throat.
Release God’s grace from your perceived duty as assignee. The world is watching all who claim to be followers of Christ – that’s the “show” to be concerned about.
The blood of Jesus and the anointing not only requires but compels us to be different. Let the world know that they can escape the widespread hypocrisy and double-standards of this world when they join Team Jesus.
So, What’s the Play Call?
If you consider yourself an evangelical or a follower of Jesus Christ, and you’re able to shun hypocrisy disguised as American patriotism – we applaud you. Continue to pray for teammates who are challenged in this area.
But, if you read the Playbook, if you look at the Bible as a mirror, and you see smudges of hypocrisy or hate that causes you to mentally ration the grace of God to some, but lavishly lather it all over others – ask God to create a clean heart in you.
Remember, God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness are available to everyone – the lost and the seasoned Christian. Yes, ask for forgiveness in your own lives, but keep going until you turn away and change for God’s good.