October 13, 2020
21 Day challenge before the November 3, 2020 election
True confession. In the last election, Donald Trump was the last candidate on the platform of the 17 possibilities I would have voted for. When he became the choice for the Republican Party, I was greatly dismayed. There was something about his abrasiveness, arrogance, vulgarity and his brashness that was offensive and not ‘presidential.’ I think he reminded me of friends’ husbands who were abusive, and former bullies from childhood. I have a strong sense of loyalty and justice, so I take things deeply into my heart when those I love have been hurt. I believe that anyone who has been hurt or wounded by individuals with similar characteristics have associated him with such people in their lives, and it brings out negative emotions like hurt, anger – and even hate.
I also have a deep sense of compassion and once he took office, I began praying for Melania, wondering how could she live with such a bully. One day, it was as if God touched me on the shoulder and said in His gentle but probing way, “So you’ll pray for her but not for him?”
Yeah, that’s pretty much it, Lord.
So in my life, though I am not always successful, I have a deeply-held conviction that when God reveals truth, He expects immediate obedience. I don’t have to like it, agree with it, or understand it – but I do need to follow it. Without delay. Justifying, deviating or delay is the same as disobedience and not walking in line with His truth. There are some things His word is not expressly clear about and requires earnest seeking of His Spirit to guide. But in most things He is clear. Loving God. Loving others. Being generous. Reconciling with Him or others before coming to Him in worship. Dealing with any sin, fear, doubt, attitude. Don’t judge, steal, lie, commit adultery…..you get it. He clearly has told us to pray for those in governmental authority over us. There is no way around it. He didn’t include a disclaimer about their behavior or lifestyle or whether I agree with or even like them.
Pray for them. Period.
How do I pray for him, Lord?
Pray that you will see him as I do. Not according to the opinions of others. Not as you associate him with past filters and emotions. But through My eyes.
And so I began, and continue to this day.
Has my prayer changed him? I am not sure. To be fair, I have heard him speak with passion about Israel, about the unborn, about wanting people of all ethnicities to be free to lead productive lives, about freedom of religious rights, and better care for the elderly, the poor, and the veterans. There has been much action in this administration freeing those caught in the demeaning system of human trafficking, our modern-day slavery. I listen to whole speeches when I can, rather than taking someone else’s clip (and lens) on them. I even listened to those who were featured at the convention – everyday people like me whose lives were changed through his listening to their needs and taking measures – prison reform (and ministries formed from it!), funding of colleges for black Americans, justice for minorities, etc. I saw some of the ‘labels’ being taken down. And many other presidential values and actions I would want from a governmental leader. (When I look at a leader, I also look at those they have chosen to be around them. They have his ear. And he has chosen some very godly men and women who speak truth to him.)
And I have also heard him say things that I would not repeat and cannot justify, nor will I defend.
(Sadly, I can also say that about almost every candidate running for the presidency. I do have respect for VP Pence’s measured and gracious words).
Has my prayer condoned his words and actions that I do not agree with or that stand in opposition to God’s heart? No, prayer does NOT condone or justify, but it keeps me from casting the first stone. Or the second, or joining with others casting stones. My prayer for our president has changed me. Isn’t that just like God?! And what would the president, or any of us, do without the prayers of others? We are the portals through which God’s will can be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Seeking to see others through God’s eyes of grace and truth makes us people of compassion. People of discernment. People who can leave True justice and judgment with God, Who uses my prayer in ways I cannot see in a bigger plan I can’t imagine. Yes, we are people who hate sin, but love the Imago Dei imprint He has left upon every human. We are people who support what is good and right, and stand against that which is not. And of course, we are people who first deal with what it brings up in our own hearts first before praying to ‘change’ others.
Sanctify us in Your truth, Lord. Your word (alone) is True.
So the challenge now that we are 21 days out from this election, is to pray for the President. To pray daily that we will see him as God sees him. Not as the press sees him. Not as our wounds might project onto him. I believe we will find what we look for. When we look for the bad in others, there is plenty to find. When we look for the good, there is much to see as well, and it brings a much more balanced view. When we find the good, praise God. When we find the not-so-good, pray to God. Either way, our focus is on praising God and not judging flawed people.
My hope is that when people look at me, I am not defined by my worst decisions, but hopefully the imprint of God in my life and His reflection through me. And so I want to also offer that to others. To see myself and to see others through His eyes. Let’s begin with our President. And any of the candidates and people of authority over the decisions of our country. May God’s eyes of grace and truth be ours.
And may we respond with obedience, faith and courage.