I think it's time to stop using Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as scapegoats. If we're brutally honest with ourselves (and, sister, it's high time for a dose of honesty in America), both of these candidates look strikingly similar to a great majority of Americans. Both profess to be Christian. Hillary is a long-standing Methodist; Trump, a Presbyterian. Yet both candidates have done, and keep doing, things that are entirely out of character for someone who is really following Christ. I think our major party candidates are the symptom of America's real, major problem: Christianity needs a reset.
I think God has given us leaders just like ourselves. Stop for a moment and let that theory sink in. This election is not happening in a vacuum. It's happening in the environment that is America. And just as we can't get ourselves out of the mess we're in, neither can our presidential candidates—because they are symptoms, not solutions, of America's deep and deepening problem. I don't think either major-party candidate for president has the character, temperament or humility to do what is required of leading our great nation forward through what I'm convinced will be her greatest challenges. If you do, I respectfully want to suggest that I don't think you're really paying attention. Herein lies our problem. I don't think the majority of self-identifying Christians is familiar with the ways in which God speaks. If we are unfamiliar with His voice, we most certainly won't recognize His message while He speaks.
What is God trying to say to America at this vital time? The very last verse of the book of Judges is we find words so subtly compelling, riveting and disturbing that they beg for resolution. I think they can be applied to life in 21st-century America:
"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judg. 21:25).
That is not the way to end a book—unless you want to incite the reader to change. People doing what is right in their own eyes, rather than in the eyes of God, is not a good thing at all. If we read our Bibles, we learn that God has a multiplicity of means to get the attention of His people—to get their eyes and hearts back on Him once they've strayed. One such way is to give His people leaders exactly—and I mean in the spitting image of—themselves.
Enter Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The majority of us Christians seem strangely "committed" to getting other people to follow a Jesus we don't seem to be following ourselves. The majority of us don't seem to be resolutely in love with Jesus, do we? This is a sin Jesus spoke against most severely. In Twitter terms, we would call it #doublestandard. Were it not for social media, we'd simply call it "hypocrisy."
Don't get me wrong: I'm a recovering hypocrite and sinner. You are too if you've truly given your life to Christ. In fact, we are the only clay God has in His pottery barn. But there is a world of difference between being committed to recovery and being a walking contradiction rather than a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2).
I believe God, more than either major political party, is trying desperately to get our attention—by doing nothing more than giving us leaders who look and act just like the majority of us. Could it be that our distaste for them is really a distaste for what each of us who claims to know Christ has become? When will we realize the brilliance of God? And what more manner of self-inflicted foolishness must we endure until we come to our senses and repent?
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both need to repent, big time—as do the majority of us Christians in America. God has, in the past, spoken to his people through a jackass (Num. 22). I think He is again speaking—very loudly and clearly—through an elephant and donkey, not about which one we ought to vote for, or against, but about a far more pressing and eternal need: the condition of our souls and our witness. Are we listening?
America needs a bath. You can jump in during The National Week of Repentance, coming Oct. 30-Nov. 6, the week before the election. You don't have to travel anywhere to get your personal overhaul underway. It will happen simultaneously across the nation. Visit revivalmatters.com, sign up now, and you'll be on your way.
Michael Anthony is founder and president of godfactor.com; founder of the National Week of Repentance (revivalmatters.com); and lead pastor of Grace Fellowship of York, Pennsylvania (graceyork.com). All views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
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