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Contempt For Trump and Grudem

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else.
-Luke 18:9


Have you heard or have you read or heard the words of contempt?  Contempt is defined as: "a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval."  Contempt is the stock and trade of the self-righteous.

Over and again, Jesus warned his followers of the trap of self-righteousness that the Pharisees had fallen into.  A reason why, I believe, out of everything that went on during Jesus' ministry years, that the writers of the four gospels show us the Pharisees and their error, is that all Christians, throughout history, are vulnerable to stepping into religious pride.  And it is toxic, destructive, and not Jesus.

Part of my story, is that I went to a non-denominational Christian college.  About half the students were Catholic and the rest were a wide variety of Protestants.  I stood up one day, when all of the students were assembled together, and I introduced myself, then said that I think we should pray for president Clinton.

I was booed, loudly.

Today, some Christians are booing again.

Some Christians have contempt for Trump.  They look down on him, calling him names, various names for various reasons.  My point is not to make a case for Trump, but to call out the contempt talk.

Contempt is when we look down on someone, putting ourselves above them.  We hold someone in contempt, because we have judged them.  And we justify our judging, saying, "it is obvious that they are deserving of this judgement, for just listen to what they said".

But what if we misunderstood what they said or what if standing in judgement, sanctimoniously, is never our call and role?  The contempt from some Christians is not only for Trump, but for Christian leaders who have said to vote for him, like Wayne Grudem.  

One of the ironic points of contempt that some people have had for Grudem, is that he has had the audacity to change his mind.  He has been thinking and praying about this.  Christian thinking is critical thinking, where we continue to explore and learn, while praying, and our conclusions change.

In short comments, or long screeds, I have read the words of contempt and sanctimonious, judgmental, holier-than-thou, ungracious, and unloving words directed at Trump and Christian leaders that say to vote for him.  As we read Jesus' words in this story about the Pharisee and the tax collector, it is obvious that Jesus is warning us, "don't be that guy".  

You might say, "but I am not that guy".  Are you sure?  Here is Jesus' parable:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people —greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’ I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Here is the checklist:
  • Do you look down on others?
  • Do you notice and name other people's sins?
  • Do you wear your religious activities (toot your horn)?
  • Do you exalt yourself?
Since Trump began his campaign, I have read Christians, who have basically said, "I don't support him, I won't support him, and do not vote for him, because Trump is greedy, unrighteous, and an adulterer."  Other variations of this is that he is uncouth or vulgar.  No doubt, that many on the Christian left, hold Trump in disdain, just because he does not espouse their views; and they would and have had contempt for any of the 16 or so Republicans that ran for the nomination.

Jesus' story of the Pharisee and the tax collector is an indictment against self righteous folks, who sneer at others.  Yes, a person can be a a person engaged in authentic ministry or mission, where in they are really doing good work, and fall into self-righteousness.

I read an editorial, in a major Christian publication, carefully 4 or 5 times, and I was left wondering if the author believes that Jesus saves.  I hesitate to mention his name.  The magazine (on-line) has no comments section and the author does not seem to have an on-line presence to foster dialogue.

That article was a 3 or 4 page indictment of Trump: purely an attack on his person.  What is ironic, is that the author completely ignores the facts that Trump is a person Jesus loves and who himself is a Christian.  Yes, Trump himself is a disciple of Jesus, on a journey.

You may disagree with his policies or his message, but the article's author sadly makes the case that Trump is a bad person, a man of the flesh and a fool.  

Is John 3:16 and the story surrounding that verse, of Nicodemus, true?  Do we get it, that Jesus is "friend of sinners"?  Are we friends of sinners?

Have you read the story of the two sons, also from Jesus?  There is something there to look at, with the brother who stayed home and never went astray.  He had a problem.  Contempt.

Contempt means looking down on others.  The Pharisees had contempt for other, less religious, people.  When we look down on people, judge their sins to be worse than ours, and tout our religious activities, we are exalting ourselves and setting ourselves up for a rude humbling.

Contempt comes from the right and the left.  It is not about conservative versus liberal or the evangelical / fundamentalists vs the social justice / christian left.  We all need each other and need to be one in Christ.  And we are all vulnerable to being self-righteous.

This post is not meant to persuade you to vote one way or another or not to vote.  This post is about contempt and bitter envy (Jas. 3:14).  There is a warning in 1 Thess. 5:20, that says, "do not treat prophecies with contempt".

Why on earth would Paul write that?  Because it is very easy to despise prophecies.  We might fall into despising a prophecy because we are offended by the messenger.  Or the prophecy may not line up with our expectations.

What if Trump is part of something God is doing?  What if that is true and you are responding with contempt?  What if God has a plan, God has ideas, and God has a love agenda?

Is our mission to flow with God?  Have we been so taken up with God as judge, that we have forgotten his mercy and love?  The goal of a righteous life is not righteousness, but love:
And the goal of your command is love from a pure heart and good conscience and sincere faith. (1 Tim. 1:5)
How shall we then live, then, as a famous guy once said?  There is a higher road, called speaking the truth in love, which a few people are on.  We can speak the truth, in love, and with humility.

Wouldn't it be nice if every church gathering in America, would have open discussions about the election, between now and Nov. 8th?  Wouldn't it be nice if we could talk, dialogue, and discuss the issues?

Blessings and peace to you.

(This post was very hard for me to write and I made a few edits in the day since I published it.)

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