Is Trump going to make the difference? It is the question we are all plagued with right now.
Some reading this are discouraged. They wonder how a man like Trump could possibly be our President- elect. Hey, I get it. I’m a little shocked by the outcome. People who say #iamwithher are fearful. They are fearful for the way he speaks of women and minorities. They are concerned by his lack of diplomacy. They don’t agree with his policies. These are not bad people. They simply see and advocate for a different avenue for change.
Others reading this are encouraged. There was concern for where the country was headed and are excited for a new direction. Hey, I get it. While I’m disheartened by having Trump as our President-elect, I would have felt anxious with Clinton in office. Those that were voting for Trump were concerned with Hillary’s integrity. They felt the path she advocated was flawed. They didn’t agree with her policies. These are not bad people. They simply see and advocate for a different avenue for change.
I say “these are not bad people,” but the truth is we are all sinful, flawed human beings. You will find evil people in both camps.
I never imagined I’d write a political post. It’s not my wheelhouse. A large majority of the people I’m closest to have no idea who I voted for in this election. I’m not going to reveal it here either. My goal isn’t to jump on the political scene with great insight into policies, historical parallels or political analysis. It’s not my gifting. Rather I came here to ask one simple question.
Is Trump Going to Make the Difference?
While I absolutely believe politicians make a difference, I’m advocating for change on another level.
Politics happens on the macro-level. I’m asking you to take time to focus on the micro-level. That is where the true difference begins. It starts in your heart, is spread to your family and then impacts your own community. From there, it grows to a national and global level.
Our Hearts Need to Change
My heart is naturally selfish. I want what I want. I see life from my perspective, and my perspective makes perfect sense to me. The world would be so much better if everyone could just see things my way. I am full of pride.
That’s counter what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that we were ALL “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are all unique creations, and God wanted it that way.
Further we are told, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” – Philippians 2:3. I am the first to admit that is so hard.
In our strength, we can’t break our selfish mold. It is only through Christ’s example that we have the strength to make this change in our hearts. In 1 John 3:16 we are told, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Have our hearts let go of pride and yielded in this way?
If we are concerned for our nation, our hearts for each other need to change.
What did Jesus advocate for? He was an advocate for loving God and loving people. Years ago I read a book called, “What if Jesus had Never Been Born?” (affiliate) It gave me a renewed sense of pride in the Christian faith and all that Jesus stood for. Where the world wants to be angry with Christians, we have to look at Christ. His example was the first in his society to elevate the value of women. The New Testament teaches us to reach across the discord of humanity. Where there was cultural division, Jesus made it clear that he was dying for the Jew and the gentile. He was an advocate for the poor and the forgotten in society. This was radical! Christianity birthed higher learning and the foundation for the democracy in our country. There has been so much beauty created using Jesus’ teachings as the foundation. Sure, there have been wrongs done in the name of the church because people are still flawed, sinful, selfish and prideful. These evils are not what God intends. Jesus is the best example of fighting for social justice.
None of these positive changes in humanity, however, were imposed by a government. They were all inspired by a transformation of the heart. It was seeing Jesus’ example and listening to his teachings that inspired revolution. Our hearts need to change. As we accept Jesus’ teachings, we realize we are sinful people who needs a loving savior full of grace for us. We can’t love fiercely on our own. We need God’s power dwelling within us to break our own selfish patterns. Once we have accepted his death as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, we are compelled to love God and love others.
Our Families Need to Change
As our hearts are transformed, it flows into our families. We become an advocate for strong and healthy marriages. In marriage, we follow important concepts that will transform our marriage. We try and die to self (very hard to do), forgive fiercely, and we choose love – whether we feel it or not. A healthy marriage is one of the important building blocks for healthy kids.
We teach our kids, through verbal instruction and example, what it means to live out the gospel message. We mess up sometimes, but we ask for forgiveness, offer grace and then try and change. This becomes a rhythm in the family life with homes that we can become more like Jesus in the process.
We raise kids who show empathy, generosity, compassion, grace, joy, peace and love – just as Jesus taught. These children will be the ones who grow up to impact our world and our politics.
Our Communities Need to Change
Lately, I have been convicted by the thought of hospitality. I always thought it was one of my gifts. I love to have people over, entertain, provide food and enjoy company. However, our pastor recently did a sermon that showed that a person who is truly hospitable invites in the stranger. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” -Hebrews 13:2. I encourage you to also read Matthew 25:31-46 to see how Jesus wants us to treat the forgotten in our society.
How often do I invite in my neighbor? I love to entertain my closest friends, but am I opening my door to those I don’t know – the new family in my daughter’s class? The new person I greeted (or failed to greet) at church? The neighbor across the street who I have only smiled at while driving by?
We use words to say we are concerned about social injustice. Have I invited in the poor, the widow, the person of a different race or religion, the forgotten in our society? Have I, heaven forbid, invited in the person of a different political party than my own – seeking first to understand more than be understood.
I know there are safety issues, but we need to figure out if we are just lip service. You can make a change locally – in the schools, in the homeless shelters, in the food banks, and in the hospitals. Our politicians are never going to stir our hearts enough to open our doors to strangers. That comes from the heart change I talked about earlier.
Our Nation and Our World Need to Change
The argument is that once we get the micro in-line – our heart, our families, and our community – our nation and our world will change.
These changed lives change a nation. These lives, impacted at a micro-level, change a world. I’ve seen the love of Jesus send doctors, who could be making a six figure salary, abandon everything to live in a third world country and serve the most hurting in our world. I’ve witnessed the love of Jesus sending food and hope into the most dangerous parts of our world. I’ve seen people sacrificing money and time to build homes, provide resources, and show love to the poorest of the poor – of all races and religions. I know those who walk into our prisons, adopt the orphan and sleep alongside the homeless because of Jesus’ example.
Is Trump Going to Make the Difference?
Trump can impact change (Hillary could have too), but the true difference comes at the micro-level. It starts with you. Work on your character. Spread that to your children. Invest in your marriage. Love your neighbors. Impact your community. These micro-level changes are what will change the politics and policies of our nation. It will change the world.
“United we Stand. Divided we Fall.” Right now I see division. We have a new President-elect. We can beat our chests, mourn and be angry. Hey – there’s definitely a time for that. However, our nation and our world won’t be transformed if we stay angry and resentful.
We need to be the difference. Join me.
This was right on wisdom and well expressed. I could really relate to the idea about hospitality being such a powerful spirit in which to express real care and compassion. Hospitality doesn’t only express itself in homes (but I do believe that is where the greatest love can be expressed), hospitality is a spirit full of grace that makes others feel valuable and safe. Last week I somehow ended up having a wonderful on line chat with an Islamic teacher. I’d happened upon a radical Islamic site, and asked the live chat person some questions, being careful to address him in a hospitable way. At first his answers were cold and religious. By the time we ended our chat, he was expressing things like “you have a wonderful manner of communicating……..it has been an honor to talk with you…..and I wish God will give you wonderful things in life”. As we chatted I felt there was some sense of human love that was being exchanged. It was amazing. I think these type of connections are being born out of a new understanding of hospitality and the preciousness of every heart. Anyways, I just wanted to share that with you.
I love to hear your story, Kristi. I used to go into chat rooms to discuss spiritual issues. I also built some bridges with a Wiccan and others seeking spiritual conversations. I spend a year meeting with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they said I was the first Christian who wanted to really study their Bible and open the door in a loving way to them. They had actually had some really mean experiences with other Christians. Being able to non-defensively have these kinds of important religious conversations is so important to both understanding and seeking truth. I love your heart for building bridges and not walls.