Love and respect — even when the Trumperor has no clothes

Aug 4, 2016 by

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Vice-president Joe Biden recently said of candidate Donald Trump, “This guy doesn’t have a clue about the middle class. Not a clue… He has no clue about what makes America great. Actually, he has no clue, period.”

Vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine spoke even more harshly: “Folks, you cannot believe one word that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Our nation is too great to put it in the hands of a slick-talking, empty-promising, self-promoting, one-man wrecking crew.”

But are these attack-mode generalizations really helpful?

The comments above are actually among the milder ones being directed at the presidential nominee these days. He is being called petulant, Islamophobic, a liar and a cheat, to mention only a few of the labels attached to him.

I must admit that in light of some of his outrageous statements, I’m tempted to join the chorus.

But should we?

Not that followers of Jesus may not, and sometimes must, point out wrongs and untruths promoted by people in power, and hold them accountable for their words and actions. But we must first recognize and remove beams of prejudice and hatred from our own eyes.

We must also celebrate the fact that there is no human being on earth who is not the focus of God’s unconditional love, and no one who is not incomparably precious and deserving of our love and respect.

In short, we must commit ourselves every day to live by the words of Jesus,

“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.


“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” — Matt. 5:43-48 (the Message)

Harvey Yoder is an ordained pastor and member of Family of Hope, a small Virginia Mennonite Conference house church congregation. He blogs at Harvspot, where this first appeared.

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