I’ve written multiple times about the gut-wrenching disappointment I’ve felt over evangelical voters and their rush to support a man like Donald Trump.
I have repeatedly urged Christians to vote their faith, not their fear, imploring them to look to the Scriptures and consider what they say about good leadership.
Sadly, my words fell on deaf ears (or blinded eyes, as the case may be), as Christians, and Christian leadership turned out to be a part of elevating an abusive misogynist, a swindler and con, tax evader and bully to the highest seat in the land.
I don’t regret my efforts. I know why I fought. I fought the fight of faith, and trusted that God’s way was perfect, no matter the outcome.
I’m not responsible for the actions of others. I’m only responsible for myself, and acting on what the Spirit of God impresses upon me. Therefore, I consider no moment of prayer over this nation wasted. God heard me.
I also don’t consider my write-in vote for someone who had only the slimmest chance of winning a “wasted vote,” as some have said. I voted on principle, rather than for a party or out of fear. God saw me.
What has been disturbing, and continues even more so, now that Donald Trump has emerged as our next president, is the number of Christians who have called this awful man “God’s chosen man.”
Let’s be clear. Donald Trump is a child who is deeply loved by our Father God, but so is Hillary Clinton, so is Evan McMullin, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Darrell Castle, and the entire roster of candidates from every party that ran for the presidency this year.
What I have repeatedly warned of, however, is that Christians who embrace a man like Trump damage their witness to the unsaved world. We are colored by the character of our associations, and drawing a direct line between the Christian God to a mean-spirited adulterer and giving him the title of “God’s man” makes it very hard to talk to our neighbors, co-workers, friends or family about faith, forgiveness, kindness, hope, love, the joy of the Lord, and on and on. It’s hard enough to maintain our own appearance to the world without trying to saddle God with Trump’s reputation.
Sometimes, however, things are said, and they’re said in such a way that we can be misunderstood.
Then it becomes important to clarify there, as well.
Wednesday morning, Rev. Franklin Graham tweeted out a response to the controversy surrounding alleged interference from the Russians in the U.S.’s election.
Do you think the Russians interfered with the outcome of the U.S. election or was it God?
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 14, 2016
Of course, this, to many, is the equivalent of Graham saying Trump is “God’s man,” and those who still regard Trump as an unrepentant abuser and cheat can’t make the connection. Those who are not Christian see a man of Graham’s stature in the Christian community say such things and to them, it doesn’t soften their attitude towards Trump. It hardens their attitude towards Christianity.
That is unfortunate and is the damage this election season has wrought on the faith – a self-inflicted wound.
To play devil’s advocate here (no pun intended), I want to say something about Graham’s tweet.
For starters, we have to remember that tweets can be very limiting.
You only have 140 characters to get out a complete thought, and I know from firsthand experience that some of the cutting and abbreviating can cause confusion.
Secondly, when in doubt, turn to Scripture.
What does it say about rulers?
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God.” – Romans 13:1 AMP
God allows for wicked men to become leaders, as He did Nebuchadnezzar in 2 Kings 20. This was to punish Judah for their idolatry.
If the people clamor for a wicked king, even if they have been given warnings about such men, God will allow it, but there is always a price to pay for trusting flesh over faith.
The Bible is rife with those tales, as well.
I won’t get into the tale of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar. It suffices to say, Abram and Sarai grew weak in their faith of God’s promise and acted on their flesh and fear. Ishmael and his descendants have given the entire world a lesson that acts out in the news, every day since.
It’s important to remember that for all his good works and his standing in the Christian community, Franklin Graham is still just a man, and men will disappoint you.
I also want to point out that a tweet shouldn’t be what discourages or turns away those who are questioning the Christian faith because of Trump.
Graham could have very well been saying God allowed for Trump to win. It may be for the very reason of turning America to repentance.
We don’t always see that need when things are going swimmingly for us.
The important thing is that we pray, and have faith.
No leader, at no time, can make a move without God’s eye on him.