For many it feels like a movie. Back to the Future. The Cubs won the World Series (they were just off one year) and Biff is ruler of the world. But this is no movie. So how do we move justice forward in a Trump world? Here are three important lessons as we pursue justice together.
1. Love must trump hate in a Trump world.
Love trumps hate must be more than a catchy slogan. We cannot give in to hate. Many are celebrating the surprising Trump victory, others remain in shock, and still others are in fear. However you feel over a Trump world it is critical for Christ followers to demonstrate love.
Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The work of justice is long, messy and hard. But God is moving all of history to its appointed end in a Kingdom of perfect justice and righteousness. We must strive to represent that Kingdom in the present no matter the challenges.
I have many friends who are celebrating. In your celebration, please understand the feelings of your fellow Americans and fellow Christians who fear the racial and religious bigotry that marked the campaign. We must not give in to fear and hate.
A growing racial divide
The election demonstrated a growing racial divide in America. The divisions continue as a man who lost the popular vote but won the electoral college will assume the Presidency. But we cannot give in to hate for whites any more than we can give in to hate for minorities. As Christians we are called to love.
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: 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 that person… If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” Lk. 6:27,28, 30 MSG
In a world wondering who Christians are, let us lead the way in love. Jesus told us, “All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” Jn. 13:35.
Love must trump hate in a Trump world.
2. Pray without ceasing in a Trump world.
“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” 1 Tim. 2:1-3 MSG.
We are commanded to pray for those in authority. Many people quote Romans 13 to demonstrate our submission to those in authority. True. But not the whole truth. Romans is one letter. Sandwiched on either side of our obligation to civil authorities is our higher obligation to love. “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good…be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Rom. 12:9,12.
We faithfully pray knowing that God is above all rulers. We cry out to the King of Kings. And our sovereign God ask us to “live in harmony with one another.” Rom. 12:16. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21. With this understanding we can submit to authorities. We can pray for authorities. On the other side of Romans 13 is another reminder to “love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor.” Rom. 13: 9-10.
A week for prayer
I prayed a lot this week. I prayed with an African American attorney who wanted to serve as a judge but had an African last name. She knew she lost because of the groundswell of support from insiders not wanting to change the system and outsiders not wanting an African judge. She feared for a nation divided by race and ethnicity.
I prayed with a teacher who did not know how to alleviate the concerns of her Hispanic students. A young Christian student who may no longer have a path for education if DACA is undone sought questions and prayer. My sons and I prayed for many friends in their school whose families could be torn apart. I prayed with my wife who fears the rising tide against Hispanics regardless of status.
But I also prayed with two young female attorneys who feel called to open legal ministries. I thanked a business owner who made such a ministry possible. I wrote a note to encourage another business woman because her gift made it possible for a new ministry to launch this Saturday. Each person who walks into a legal ministry finds hope. Hope rooted in a Savior. They also find practical help with legal issues. Each person finds compassion and dignity. They find help regardless of who they are or what they believe.
We advance the cause of justice as we pray without ceasing in a Trump world.
3. Hope triumphs in a Trump world.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 15:13.
The God of hope is bigger than any problem, challenge or disappointment. As Dr. King said, “We must accept infinite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Our hope is not rooted in political systems or people. Our hope is not rooted in a bank account. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.
God’s got this. He defeated injustice on the cross. It is finished. He won. So we do not live as people defeated. Whatever happens we are people of love and joy. We are lights in the darkness.
So trust God meant what he said to Jeremiah, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11.
For those who are rejoicing in the surprising Trump victory. Rejoice. Those who are mourning. Mourn. But together let’s demonstrate love, pray without ceasing, and move forward in hope. Let’s continue to “seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isa. 1:17. The need is great. The opportunity is greater.
Contact us to learn how you can be an agent of hope and justice for neighbors in need. We need people of courage to stand in the gap on behalf of others. Attorneys, business owners, advocates, church leaders and students are making justice for all possible. Join them.