Why We Should Love Bill Maher and Donald Trump
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27-28)
I hang in a pretty conservative crowd. Okay, let's be real—I can count the liberals I know on one hand. I met one at the pool the other day and I have a good friend who is a closet liberal, but other than that I know few of them. I'm guessing that's because I live in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, go to a conservative church, and I hunt and fish and look like a boilerplate Republican, boots and guns and all.
Politics are not my thing, so I try to avoid conversations with highly political people. For starters, hyper political people are hard to listen to. They are so convinced of their moral high ground that they cannot hear an opposing viewpoint. Also, they tend to know a bunch of facts which they rattle off like bullets from a machine gun.
Bill Maher and Donald Trump are about as polarizing as it gets. If you love one, you likely hate the other. Each occupies a controversial position on one pole of the political spectrum, and their enemies line up to attack them.
My take on these two guys isn’t important, but for the record, I don’t have much admiration for either of them. Both men are bombastic. Both men use words as arrows and launch them with harmful intent. Both men are divisive and seem unwilling to consider that they might be wrong. Again, I’m not a fan.
The words of Jesus are unbelievable, irrational commandments to love. His commandments are never easy; they are never low-hanging fruit. His words are inconvenient and hard. This is due in part to the fact that his love crosses aisles and borders and party lines and boundaries we’d just rather not cross. We’d rather lob grenades.
The grace of Christ is not reserved for people of a certain political ideology. You may marvel at how so-and-so can claim to be a Christian and vote for so-and-so, but there’s probably someone asking the same thing about you at the same moment.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life offers his hand to us all.
It is honorable to hold convictions and to have a spine. We should have opinions about government and policy. That means, naturally, we will form opinions about people who disagree with us. This is unavoidable, but we mustn’t let our opinions smother our love for our fellow man. We will soon look upon one another in a different realm and realize we were more alike than we thought.
I don’t live in a glass house. My tongue knows the taste of foolish words. I just think we all need a reminder, not once in a while but once an hour.
Jesus yanked a tax collector out of a tree to have dinner. He hung with drunks and prostitutes and greedmongers. His affection for morally loose people is sometimes surprising, but what is more stunning was his prayer on the cross for his executioners. Again, the love of Christ makes no sense. It respects no boundaries.
That liberality of love is, absent the Spirit’s modification of our hearts, beyond us. But that is the standard.
While Jesus sets a high bar for holiness, he does not make us go it alone. When he ascended, the Spirit descended—not to haunt holy rooms but to inhabit followers of Christ. And thus, what seems impossible to man is possible because of the Spirit.
Entry to the Kingdom is not an exclusive gala where the beautiful strut the red carpet. It’s a hospital in a bad neighborhood with an open bed for all.
So, however we feel about Bill Maher and Donald Trump, Jesus calls us to love them. Not like, love. Maybe you don’t care about Bill Maher or Donald Trump. I bet you’ve loathed someone. I bet you loathe someone right now. When you think of the love of Christ, consider them. If nothing else, it’ll make you love Jesus more for his immense benevolence.
Perhaps it helps to remember that love is a verb, a choice. If we were to let our feelings take the wheel, we’d love very little outside of ourselves.
Jesus loves us not because we deserve it, but because he is himself the embodiment of perfect love. He loves because love is worth it, especially when it makes little sense to our feelings. He invites us to do the same.
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