Friday, January 20, 2017

If you voted for Donald Trump....

....I forgive you.

Colossians 3:12 - 15 (NLT)
Since God chose you to be holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy [compassion in the NIV], kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  You must make allowance for one another's faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.  Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

After the election, I was angry, heartbroken and ashamed that Donald Trump had been elected president of the United States.  Hearing the reactions of others, I had other friends who were heartbroken and angry, as well.  I'd heard stories of international students, students whose families immigrated here, who were scared and hopeless.

I've been studying the names of God, his attributes. Jehovah Shalom -- the LORD is Peace -- brought me back to Colossians 3:12-17.  For many months, I had been praying Colossians 3:12 over myself.  I'd read the verses following verse 12 before, but after the election, verse 13 gave me pause:  "You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you."

I must forgive Donald Trump.  I must forgive every person who voted that man into power, which would probably be half the people I know and love.  

Many people would counter, "Well, I wasn't going to vote for Hillary Clinton.  I don't trust her."  
To those Americans, I remind you there were two other names listed on the voting ballot as well as a write-in option.  
"Oh, they'd never win.  What's the point in voting for one of them?"  
Oh yes, that's the spirit, American people.  That's exactly the defeatist attitude that helped form our nation in the first place.  That is exactly the defeatist attitude that ended segregation.  I hope you're hearing the sarcasm right now.  

But God says I must make allowance for these faults and forgive those who voted the offensive Donald Trump into office just as others are to make allowance for my faults and forgive me whenever I offend them.

Paul, in Colossians, goes on to say:  "The most important piece of clothing you are to wear is love.  Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony."  We (all people) have forgotten this.  Too often we're trying to control something we can't -- others' behaviour.  We can't control how someone reacts, what someone says, what someone does; we can only control our reactions, words and behaviour.  So I say, "Worry about yourself."  And behave with love.  Brutal, wild-abandoned love.  I equate love with respect:  not everyone deserves it, but what does what we deserve have to do with it?

"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts" (verse 15).  First, 'Follow your heart' is the worst advice ever given.  No hyperbole there; I mean it.  Second, the words are the "peace that comes from Christ," meaning this is not something we ourselves can produce.  The peace comes from Christ, but how?  Philippians 4:6-7 says the answer is to pray, tell God everything.  But these verses also say the unfathomable peace is from the Holy Spirit.  In John 14:16-18 (NLT), Jesus Christ says, "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor [Comforter, Encourager, Advocate], who will never leave you.  He is the Holy Spirit who leads into all truth....  No, I will not abandon you as orphans -- I will come to you."  And then later in verses 26 and 27, Jesus continues, "But when the Father sends the Counselor, I mean the Holy Spirit -- he will teach you everything and remind you of everything I myself have told you.  I am leaving you with a gift -- peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives.  So do not be troubled or afraid."

I must forgive.  I must love and worry about myself.  I must pray in order to claim the promise of unfathomable peace.  And I must be thankful always; give thanks to God.  How, though, can I be thankful when I am ashamed that my representative as an American is Donald Trump, a man I find hard to love (respect), to forgive.  How am I to submit to this man's authority as God commands in 1 Peter 2:13 (NIV):  "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority"?

By remembering it is not a mere man in whom I put my trust, but in Elohim. God Almighty. The Lord Jesus Christ.  The King of kings and Lord of lords.  Jehovah Shalom.

Shortly after the election, my thoughts echoed those found in Lamentations 3:20-24 (NLT): "I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.  Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the unfailing love of the LORD never ends!  By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.  I say to myself, 'The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!"

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.  Has the LORD redeemed you?  Then speak out! Tell others he has saved you from your enemies.  For he has gathered the exiles from many lands, from east and west, from north and south.  Some wandered in the desert, lost and homeless.  Hungry and thirsty they nearly died.  'LORD, help!' they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress.  He led them straight to safety, to a city where they could live.  Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for all his wonderful deeds to them.
-- Psalm 107:1-8 (NLT)