Believers, Be Beautiful

It looks like the thing that will get me out of a blogging slump is a Trump presidency.

What a shock, eh? Yesterday as I woke up, I checked the bookies to see what the odds were. Even they had Trump at $5, whilst Hillary sat at a respectable $1.50. No chance, I thought.

What happened? Why was there such an upset? Many people were saying that there were a multitude of “shy Trump supporters” who never vocally supported Trump, but voted for him in droves. Or where a silent majority of people who had never voted before (and thus, were never polled) decided to come out of the woodwork and cast their vote. Others declare confidently that this was not a win for Trump, but a loss for Clinton.

I have no idea what the real story is. I’m not a Trump supporter, in fact, I think that he’s singularly unqualified for the role of President. But, as he’s won, I wish him well, and will pray for wisdom for him. But I was mulling the whole thing over this morning, and had a few thoughts that even us Aussie Christians should take from the election.

Throughout the campaign, Trump supporters had repeatedly been labeled as “Deplorables“, racists, homo- and xenophobes, stupid, idiots, and bigots. A few days before the election, a group of celebrities (via FunnyOrDie) released a expletive-filled rant disguised as “We Are The World”, with jewels like this:

An orange talking STD has driven me to this recording studio…

Donald Trump is human syphilis, we could be the antidote.

It’s when I watch things like this, I understand the Trump phenomenon. It makes me angry. It makes me want to give them the middle finger and vote Trump. Why is this so? I can’t stand the man, and I’m convinced that a Trump presidency will be bad for everybody (even here in Australia!). Why does it make me want to support Trump?

Because it’s ugly. It’s aggressive. It’s hypocritical. Trump’s (and the GOP’s) opponents have historically prided themselves on being the tolerant, loving, and caring option. And yet here they are, excoriating Trump and his supporters in terms that seem anything but tolerant, loving, or caring.

So, of course, protest happens. Trump gets elected. And Hillary’s supporters are left shocked and bewildered. Their tactics didn’t work.

Christians are no stranger to this bewilderment. For many years now, Western Christians have been observing a cultural shift away from Jesus, away from the Scriptures, away from the good news that God has come to save sinners, out of sheer mercy, grace and love. People seem to not want to hear it any more. And in response, many Christians have acted the same way – we’ve preached love, mercy, and grace, whilst being loveless, merciless, and graceless. We’ve been angry and aggressive with those who disagree. The leadership of our churches has been marked with hypocrisy, adultery, and bullying.

So, of course, protest happens. People reject Jesus. People see Jesus’ body acting with such anger at a culture shifting against them, and rightly reject it.

People are very simple creatures, deep down. We love things that are beautiful, and reject things that are ugly. Scolding moralism is ugly. Hypocritical aggression is ugly. It is an ugliness that not only repels, but hardens people against it. Beauty entices. It attracts, it intrigues and unites in wonder.

This is why Jesus says:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

Maybe it’s time that Christians reevaluated our tactics. Maybe it’s time we asked ourselves, as individuals and Churches, the question: “How am I showing that a life of faith and repentance in Jesus is not only right, but beautiful?” How is your marriage showing the beauty of the Christian life? The way you talk at work? The care you show for sinners?

If people are going to delight in Christ as He desires, then let’s show how full of delight He is. The brilliance of the Christian faith is that we can do this no matter our circumstances, no matter who is in charge of the country we live in.

Believers, Be Beautiful

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