Jesus and the biblical authors predicted this thousands of years ago. Not that Trump and Clinton would be opponents in this election. But that people throughout history would behave like Trump and Clinton.
Long before this election cycle, biblical scholar Eugene Peterson translated a famous saying by Jesus about our tendency to love “darkness rather than light.” His translation could be an honest news report about this election. He wrote: “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure” (The Message, John 3:19-20).
Could this be the reason Hillary Clinton won’t do a press conference? She appears addicted to “denial and illusion” and won’t come into the light because the truth about her scandals is too painful.
It appears that she and Bill have sold influence by taking money from foreign governments, but there’s been no opportunity to ask her about it. After lying about what happened in Benghazi, Mrs. Clinton says “what difference does it make now?” On jeopardizing national security by sending classified information over her own unsecure server, she says “I made a mistake.”
Despite whatever new thing the FBI is saying today, that’s not a “mistake.” A mistake is an unintended act that results when you lack information or have wrong information. Setting up an unsecure server in your basement when you are a government official handing secret information is a premeditated, deliberate act to avoid detection and accountability. That’s a crime. (It certainly is for anyone lower in the government food chain.) But human nature tends to minimize culpability by calling it a “mistake” and then avoids the light at all costs.
Donald Trump apologized for his lewd remarks about making unwanted advances on women. Then human nature kicked in and he minimized the incident by calling it “locker room talk” while turning the spotlight back on the actions of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Don’t pay attention to my history—look at hers!
Granted, the Clintons have done worse. But that doesn’t make your words just “locker room talk.”
Jesus said, “What comes out of the mouth defiles a man." And His half brother, James, gave equally grave warnings about our language. Peterson translates James this way, “By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.” A more literal way of putting that is “our tongue sets on fire the course of our life.”
That’s what some people fear about Trump. While Clinton is too predictable—predictably corrupt—Trump might be too unpredictable. He could set on fire with his tongue the course of the country (for better or worse depending on your worldview).
There’s only one thing we can predict with certainty: the next president will be a fallen human being with a sinful nature. That’s true even if someone other than Trump or Clinton miraculously wins because we all have hearts in need of redemption, whether we are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Independent.
That’s why our Founding Fathers deliberately created a government of separated powers. They knew human nature was depraved and believed that absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. Yet, ironically, we need a government precisely because we are fallen. As James Madison put it, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
We’re certainly not angels. In fact, Christianity is the only world religion that admits we are universally bent toward evil. The first book of the Bible declares that “people have an intent toward evil from an early age.” The Apostle Paul nailed us all when he said that we “suppress the truth” about God and what’s right so we can do the immoral things we want to do. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it?” How else can you explain anyone’s support for literally tearing apart full-term babies in the barbaric procedure known as partial birth abortion?
I know. That’s not you. You think you’re a “pretty good person.” But let me ask you a question. If all of your thoughts were transmitted across your forehead in big LED letters, would you leave your house? Would you let anyone see your face? Not only is it much more natural to be selfish than selfless, my thoughts and your thoughts are often evil.
So we can all wag our fingers like Pharisees at the candidates and declare that they are immoral people. And you would be correct about the immorality of some of their political positions (such as Hillary’s support for partial birth abortion). But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve also thought and done evil in our own lives. Perhaps not the same evil in the same way or to the same extent, but we’re all guilty nonetheless.
What are you doing about that?
Every other world religion claims you have to do this and do that to somehow win favor with God. Maybe your good deeds will outweigh your bad? Unfortunately, that’s impossible. Perfect justice doesn’t work that way. Bad deeds need to be punished regardless of whether or not you’ve done any good deeds.
That’s why Christ came. He came to pay for your sins and mine: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Since Christ is the only one who can pay the ransom—who can pay your debt—trusting in Him is the only way you can avoid punishment and have your sins forgiven.
Have you done that?
Oh, you’re not convinced it's true? Jesus and the Bible writers got human nature right, but not much else? Well, there’s actually abundant evidence they got lots right, including Christ’s Resurrection (watch or read).
That means, although America will one day end, you will live for eternity. It also means that your decision about Christ is far more important than the one you’ll make in this election.