Tag Archives: donald trump

US Ballot

Love Your Enemies

(A six -minute read)

It was a couple days after the US election. A lot of us were grumbling (always about ‘the other side’ of course). I had a spirited (but respectful) back-and-forth with a friend who is a self-professed Donald Trump hater. He bristled at my idea that he pray for him.

He said, ‘I’ll join you in prayer for millions of traumatized Americans to help us all heal, but Trump is not on the list.’

I suggested to him that if I hate Donald Trump (or any other person for that matter), the hatred is of less consequence than the fact I am willing to allow myself to hate.

When I amass hatreds and resentments and harbor unforgiveness, I only hurt myself. Here’s what I told my friend:

One of the main things Jesus talked about during his time here on earth was how we rid ourselves of unforgiveness and bitterness – things that block us off from receiving God’s grace and peace. Only by doing that can we fully receive God’s forgiveness for our own shortcomings.

Has Donald Trump lied as my friend suggested? Of course he has! So have I! So have you! But there’s grace for that. When we catch ourselves doing it, we turn back to Jesus, say ‘sorry’ and know that we’re forgiven. Then we move on and try again. We don’t prove ourselves through our own actions. We let the Lord guide and correct us. Over time we get better.

As to praying for those we may despise, God was very clear on this. In the Old Testament the rule was ‘If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him.’ In the New Testament Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.’

The instruction is pretty clear. Pray for your enemies, don’t hate them. And that last bit, about the rain falling both on the righteous (those who love God) and the unrighteous (those who don’t) is a way of pointing out that God loves your enemies as much as He loves you. He wants Donald Trump to follow Him as much as he wants you or me. He plays no favorites. Let’s not forget that to some out there, you and I may be seen as the enemy!

You’ll find a longer discussion of forgiveness between Jesus and the disciples in Matthew 18. Peter asks Jesus how many times he has to forgive someone – seven times? Jesus says ’70 times seven’ (or 77 times, depending on your translation). The point is that Jesus is exaggerating for effect, to say we should always be ready to forgive. Why is this? Three reasons:

1. Because it releases the person who harmed us from any curse laid upon them for their sin.

2. In a practical way, it releases us from bitterness and resentment. It gives us freedom.

3. It sets things right in the spiritual realm.

Think about the Lord’s Prayer, where it says ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’ You can’t have one without the other.

That idea of setting things right spiritually may seem murky. Here’s a practical example. If someone robs me and takes my wallet, I’ll certainly file a police report. I want my wallet back and I want justice to be done. But I also pray for the thief and forgive him.

Here’s why: If the thief is caught and I get my wallet back that’s worldly justice and that’s good. But the thief, even if punished, is still a thief. His heart is not transformed. Only God can transform his heart and change him from being a thief. My prayer helps with that.

It’s the same thing that happened all those years ago when I prayed to God to transform my own heart, and he delivered me from a life of drunkenness. Before, I was one way; I was a new way afterwards. It was night and day. So who am I to deny this gift to anyone else?

If I don’t forgive the thief, whoever I perceive him to be, then my lack of forgiveness works against God’s ability to transform the thief’s heart. Prayer has power. We are born into a spiritual battle and live in one all our lives. If we pretend otherwise we are deluding ourselves.

Prayer is one of the most effective weapons we wield on this spiritual battlefield – not to bring down others, but to protect them and ourselves. Also, to release us from the burden of resentment and bitterness we take on as we we attempt to judge others.

Only God knows all the facts and only he knows what is in our hearts: yours, mine and Donald Trump’s for that matter. I’m content to leave any and all judgments up to Him – He’s designed for it. I’m not.

Since this began on a political note, I’ll close on one: In politics, someone wins, someone loses and then life goes on. God remains in charge. ‘He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding.’

And that’s a very reassuring piece of knowledge.

Photo by Salar Farji via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump

On Prophecy and Donald Trump

(A six minute read)

Confusion reigns. Or does it?

There’s a huge uproar in charismatic Christian circles right now about prophecies saying that Donald Trump will be a two term president.

Some of today’s prophetic voices were saying this even before Trump became a candidate for the 2016 race. Many of them continued to say it, right up to the beginning of this month. Some are still saying it.

However, with Trump very apparently on the losing end, these same people are now tying themselves in knots trying to justify their words, or backtracking and apologizing, or in one case, backtracking and apologizing and then recanting – sort of. It’s a mess. In truth though, I’m not criticizing anyone. Prophetic culture is often messy.

Let’s step back a bit.

There is much to consider here, and it must begin from a position of humility. Consider three things.

First, be assured I have no skin in the game. Oh, of course I desired a particular outcome from the election. Didn’t we all? But it doesn’t matter who I voted for or who you voted for. Point number one is that I have no call to criticize your choices any more than you have a call to criticize mine. Unless of course we’re in a close enough relationship that we hold one another accountable. This should be the Golden Rule of social media, but I digress…

I will pray for my president, whoever it may be, and think you should too. Christians are called to it. And if you aren’t a Christian, I’ll suggest that praying for someone is still a good thing, especially if you dislike them.

(Check back for next week’s essay, called Love Your Enemies, which will come, appropriately enough, on Thanksgiving Day).

Second, prophecy is real, but let’s remember it must be tested. ‘Do not despise prophecies. Examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good.’ 1 In my time I’ve seen prophetic words that soar through the heavens and come true, and others that immediately crash to earth with a thud. Read my latest memoir for one full accounting. In sum, prophecy as a phenomenon is real and active today, but not all words claimed as prophetic are actually from the Lord.

Finally, we must remember that God is not captive to a 24/7 news cycle. Humans may be addicted to it, but He is not. He works on His own timetable, not ours. While certain circles may be holding on for an electoral or judicial ‘miracle’ for Donald Trump, God may have another plan that could still see prophetic words fulfilled. Or they may be no more than wishful thinking, or may simply be duds. We get to wait and see.

How are we to consider these things?

God ‘removes kings and sets up kings’. 2 To Him, ‘one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’ 3 The Father didn’t have Isaiah prophesy about ‘The Suffering Servant’ 4 and then have Jesus show up the following Thursday. Israel waited several hundred years for that one to come true. Just an obvious example.

Modern life makes it easy to believe the lie that everything happens ‘now’ (or should happen ‘now’). We forget about the value of ‘waiting on the Lord.’ The Bible has much to say about this. It should be our guide, not the media’s Daily Drip of Despair.

‘Wait on the Lord; be strong and may your heart be stout; wait on the Lord.’5

‘Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of those who prosper in their way, because of those who make wicked schemes.’6

‘But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to mercy and justice, and wait on your God continually.’7

That’s enough of that. Two or three witnesses are enough to establish the truth of the matter. Please note I’m not imputing ‘wickedness’ above to any individual or group – I’m just quoting Scripture. One person’s wickedness is another’s virtue, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Testing the prophecies

There is speculation Donald Trump will run for president again in 2024. If he were to win a non-consecutive term it would not set a historical precedent. But it would fulfill any prophecy that he would be a two-term president. We may hear more about that from certain people after Joe Biden is sworn in come January!

In sum, we are wise to let things stand. We shall all find out soon enough, whether we waste endless hours speculating on it or not. Whoever the President is come 2021, let’s pray good things for him and his team. I know I will. Whoever is elected in 2024, let’s do the same. God is still sovereign anyway, and will continue to remove kings and raise kings up worldwide until the world ends.

Let prophetic words work themselves out. They will either soar into the heavens to the amazement of all. Or they will fall to the ground and decompose. They belong to God anyway – not to us – and He will do with them as He sees fit.

1. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
2. Daniel 2:21
3. 2 Peter 2:8
4. Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
5. Psalm 27h14
6. Psalm 37:7
7. Hosea 12:6

Public domain photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr via Wikimedia Commons