Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A musing: Evil, elections, idols & civil disobedience

Among the millions of topics I ponder from one moment to the next is, “Why does evil exist?”

The election of Trump is helping me gain some new insight.

Many Christians view the election of Trump as God’s will. As one who acknowledges that God is sovereign, I believe there is credence behind this idea. In Christ, all things hold together.

But why would the Lord “choose” to place such a corrupt, wicked, despicable person over what many still think of as a “godly” country?

And just because Trump is our incoming President (he’s not in office yet although listening to the news it seems as if he is) are we, as Christians, as Evangelicals, required to accept this reality passively? Do we just roll over, play dead, remain silent, and be dumbly accepting in the face of Trump’s questionable antics?

I think not.

The point of evil, as I’m learning, at least in part, is for us to resist it. God allows certain egregious situations to act as abrasives in our lives so that we can flex our spiritual muscle and fight back. God wants to see how we will handle such challenges. If we will put our spiritual money where our Scripture-spouting mouth is, so to speak.

Within the “God is sovereign” argument there is also Hitler and others like him. Because a despot is allowed to rise up does not mean God has abandoned us or that we must passively accept the rule of evil. Or -- and this is especially true -- that we must vote for him or her.

By the way, I am not comparing Trump to Hitler, so let’s just move on.

Nebuchadnezzar was a ruling authority back in the day. He raised up an image of himself and demanded everyone worship it. It was a tyrannical move. Defying his order meant death by fiery furnace.

Three godly men -- all under his rule and authority -- did defy him.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said no. They pointed out that worshiping Nebuchadnezzar’s image was a violation of God’s commandments and so they would not compromise themselves. They “voted” against him fully aware of the consequences.

Nebuchadnezzar remained in power despite this defiance, but he was also affected by what happened to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when he had them bound and tossed in the furnace.

They didn’t burn nor did they remain bound. They were joined by a fourth being and walked around inside the fire, praising God. They -- the three men -- walked out unharmed and were not even left with the smell of smoke on them.

Their act of humble resistance -- civil disobedience -- turned into a powerful testimony of faith and an opportunity for the power of the Living God to be demonstrated.

Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was changed as a result. At least for a time. Those under his rule benefited from this change and the glory of God was witnessed throughout the land.

As an aside, if the three had bowed, can you imagine how badly their credibility would have been damaged when claiming they served the Most High God? Let that thought marinate in your Spirit-filled mind awhile.

The point is that just because evil comes into power -- and to some minds, perhaps a lesser of two evils -- doesn’t mean that evil is to be embraced, feted, tolerated, excused, accepted, or given free reign.

And God doesn’t need our help to be sovereign. What he wants from us is holiness and obedience. Endorsing evil fails on both these points.

Yes, Donald Trump takes office on January 20, 2017. Yes, the office of President deserves respect. However, the Office and the person filling the role must also be held accountable. Presidents aren’t kings over the people, they are servants of the people.

Resistance to any evil, especially righteous resistance, is not futile. Positive things can result when evil is refuted and godliness asserted.

I acknowledge Donald Trump as President-elect, but I will not bow down to him. Nor should anyone who views themselves an Evangelical or a Christian.

We serve Another, which trumps all other allegiances. And that’s a fact.

Are you a Christian who supports Trump? Do you support all he is? All he does? All he says? Why or why not? Have you ever held a negative view of or not supported someone who exhibits the same characteristics, behaviors, and values as does Trump? How do you justify doing so now? What changed? Why is this different? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

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