This isn’t click-bait (a provocative title to get you to visit my blog). This needs to be said. Donald Trump has been made in the image of God and Jesus requires me (and you) to love him.
This needs to be said because of the most recent news about Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping from the GOP race which has left Trump the candidate-apparent. The lingering hope of would-be republicans of the #nevertrump movement has been that Trump would not win enough delegates to earn the Republican candidacy. But, with no opposition left, those who would have voted red are now feeling blue (see what I did there???). Accompanying this loss of hope is a level of vitriol and hate that I find appalling.
We feel justified because Trump is easily the most hated candidate of my lifetime. It’s easy to chime in about him. This is how riots happen, by the way. Everyone else is doing it, so I might as well do it too. We feel justified because he’s a celebrity. There is something about the public eye that makes us think we can say whatever awful things we want as if the rules of love don’t apply when talking about someone in the limelight. However, the fact that Trump will never hear/read the terrible things said doesn’t change that God sees hate in our hearts (Matthew 5:22).
Let me ask you an important question: How would you treat Donald Trump if he was in the room and able to respond? I’m serious about this. I have heard Christians say awful, hateful things about Trump. I have been guilty of calling his character into question without really knowing much about him or knowing anything at all about his story. I have even gone so far as to be judgmental and dismissive of those who tell me that they actually support Trump (gasp!). Doesn’t love require me to extend grace and goodness to even those I would consider my enemy (Matthew 5:43-45)? Isn’t that what it means to be a child of God? I’m reminded how succinctly 1 John 4:8 reminds us that “God is love” and therefore “whoever doesn’t love” (Donald Trump) “does not know God.”
I’m not suggesting that you should vote for him (I haven’t decided what I’m going to do in November yet). I’m not suggesting you need to affirm his policies. I’m not saying you have to trust him as a politician. I’m not even suggesting you like him; his public persona is very unlikable. Love doesn’t require any of those things. Love does, however, mean that we desire what is good/best for a person. So, I choose to love Donald Trump.
I don’t plan to vote for him at this point, but I am praying for him. I want to discipline my heart to desire good for Trump. I do not want him to be my president, but that doesn’t negate my call to love him as a person. The things I dislike about Trump does not permit me to wish anything other than God’s goodness toward him.
I say this because I feel the hate rising up in my own heart. When I see his picture or hear him talk, my heart reacts in a way that frankly makes me not like myself very much. I feel within myself an attitude that says I’m allowed to hate Donald Trump and that is wrong. It needs to be corrected with God’s truth. I want to be a person whose heart is full of love, not hate for anyone (even those who invite negativity). If I believe the gospel is true, then it is critical that I learn to view Donald Trump with the same love and grace with which Jesus views me. Jesus sees all the unlikable parts of my heart and He still loves me. And, because Jesus loves me and asks me to love people, I proclaim this to my resistant heart: I love Donald Trump.