Perhaps the most haunting song in the Christian songbook is “They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”. Not only is it set to a dirge-like tune that could be the background to a haunted house, but it also exposes our weakness as a community.
Will they know we are Christians by our love?
In this era? I suspect not.
They will know us by our nastiness. They will know us by our fear of “them”. But I don't think they will know us by our love.
Evangelicals support terrible causes. As a result the public equates Christianity with things like pollution, isolationism, ignoring the poor, fear, and bigotry.
I want to take a moment and apologize for the actions and words of Christians in the era of Trump and Brexit. We aren't battling famine in Yemen and Somalia. Instead we have become obsessed with our echo chamber.
We have set the accumulation of wealth as our highest idol, despite biblical warnings that the rich will struggle to get into heaven.
I'm so sorry.
Many Christians voted for Trump. We are often sighted as a key reason why he got elected. In seeing that, many of my friends have closed themselves off to Jesus. Because of the gospel? No. Because Trump scares minorities, even those here legally. Because he brags about grabbing women. Because he lies. Often.
About those lies. Christians have worked for decades to prove the existence of absolute truth. Yet the word of 2016 was “post-truth”, a word aimed at the Trump campaign. How can we declare that truth exists when it is denied by someone who is supposed to represent us?
Friends, forgive us.
Dear believers, we need to step up our game. We are trading the gospel for political power. It is a bad deal. It can only hurt us in the end. The tide of politics turns quickly. In four years we will wonder why we are being persecuted. There will be conferences to discuss the outcry against the people of God. We'll try to say it is because of our faith, but it will have been born in these times. We are bringing it on ourselves.
They will remember when we were cruel. When we tried to believe that racism was keeping us safe. When we allowed uninterrupted collection of our data.
It is frightening to write these words. It is seen as culturally taboo in the evangelical world to speak honestly about the Trump administration. How can that kind of fear exist amongst brothers and sisters in Christ? Still, I have written this article many times over and over again.
For those who do not believe in Jesus, please know that the message of Christ is about forgiveness to those who repent. It is not about strutting, gloating, or money. We should be laying our lives down for others.
I pray that someday we are known for our love.