He stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7
People all over the nation watch with gleeful anticipation as the fall of an arrogant man unfolds in the media.
Many hearts celebrate his public humiliation, heaping insults and casting stones. And supporters concerned over what people might think of their attachment to such a candidate flee to the hills to avoid being caught in the wave as he crashes.
I get it.
Hearing Trump’s derogatory comments about women doesn’t exactly make me feel all warm and fuzzy. I’ll be honest. It disgusts me. And it should.
But as I seek the Lord over these troubled times, I’m bothered by something far subtler, obscured from our notice by the blatant vulgarity that has moved to the forefront of our news cycles.
As people quickly rush to pass judgment, I find myself keenly aware of the absence of grace. Even worse is our failure to acknowledge its relevancy.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Jesus equally represents both grace and truth. Where He is present, we will always find both at work. And that’s something professing Christians need to consider.
Let me be clear. I’m not suggesting we ignore the truth or use grace to justify Trump’s actions. I am, however, suggesting that we shouldn’t ignore the potential impact of grace on an individual life.
Think for a moment, dear one. Is any life irredeemable? Would Jesus call a carnal, arrogant man hopeless and wash His hands of him? Or would the Savior of the world give His own life to redeem him?
Indeed, Jesus did offer His life to redeem him. He bled on a cross to rid mankind of the depraved flesh nature, the very nature that crass 2005 video reveals.
Beloved, do you believe that the carnal depravity evidenced in Trump stands beyond the reach of the cross?
Jesus offers you and I a stark warning in Matthew 7:1-3.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
It makes us feel better to judge someone else’s sin as worse than ours. But wisdom remembers that in God’s eyes, all sin remains equal. And we all fall short. I can’t come before you offering a perfect past. Perhaps we should follow Jesus’ advice before we pass final judgment.
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Verse 5
It occurs to me that perhaps there’s something you and I aren’t seeing clearly. I can’t help thinking of the name scripture gives our enemy in Revelation 12:9, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.”
Our enemy deceives, beloved. He works in the shadow, manipulating the circumstances of earth, and hiding God from us to keep us from understanding. He often fixes our gaze in one direction so we won’t see what’s really happening in the other.
Perhaps these uncertain times are an invitation to trust Jesus’ words in Mark 1:14-15.
Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Do you believe in the power of the gospel, beloved? With everything in me, I do! And as I watch an arrogant, carnal man of power fall in disgrace, I see an opportunity to witness the power of the gospel revealed on a very public stage.
You and I have a choice, beloved. We can stand with the throng casting stones. Or we can pray for a stumbling sinner to recognize his need of a Savior. We can judge with our words, or we can intercede. We can walk away with hard hearts in disgust, or we can draw near to the throne of grace on his behalf and pray for the Spirit of God to bring him to sincere repentance.
Because God can do astounding things through a humbled heart, dear one.
He humbled a murdering zealot named Saul, and then used that man to give us two-thirds of the New Testament. He humbled a carnal prophet named Samson with blindness and disgrace. Then He used that man to topple the house of the Philistines.
And after God sent a pagan king named Nebuchadnezzar into the wilderness to rid him of his arrogance, he returned proclaiming these words.
Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:37
What glory could God reveal through the humbled heart of a man like Trump, beloved?
Pray, dear one. Cry out to God for repentance. Nothing can stop the redeeming power of God’s Word when believers unite to stand in agreement with God for His purposes.
And God’s purpose always includes redemption.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 33:12a
He doesn’t cast stones. He delivers.