Illustration Credit: Timothy R. Butler/Dreamlike Diffusion

Trump Isn’t the Savior (and Neither Is A Conviction Against Him)

By Timothy R. Butler | Posted at 9:49 PM

I could have written this column, regardless of the outcome. Half the country has put its hopes in an all too human “savior.” Half the country has put its hopes on the defeat of that man. Today marks either a celebration or a catastrophe if one’s hopes rest on the state of President Trump. That tells more of our false hopes than anything else.

The unmoored state of our national “hope” is demonstrated in the shakiness of both the pro- and anti-Trump causes. Neither side holds onto a moral compass, except when it suits their predetermined route.

Imagine for a moment a man accused of one or two of the misdeeds of the former president, but who waved a Blue and not Red flag. Would “values voters” be upset over today’s conviction? Would there be comparisons between the president’s suffering and Jesus? We don’t have to imagine, because that scenario happened and the answer is no.

Not to say Team Blue holds a great moral high ground here. Present defenders of “election integrity” only found scruples after their own repeatedly sowed questions about legitimate elections. After all, the moral grass is always far worse on the other side of the fence.

The “hopes” we put in our respective sides in the moment of this judicial decision, or any other, have more to do with winning than righteousness. If we consistently criticize the Other Side for the misdeeds we justify from our own and defend our own for the lapses we criticize in “them,” we are merely jockeying for a team.

Cheerleading for a team isn’t much to stake our hopes on, is it?

Trump is not the savior. Love him or hate him, he simply isn’t. Jesus’s enemies didn’t bring him down by exposing his hidden misconduct. He had no misdeeds at all. The perfect man, his enemies had no skeletons to unearth against him.

When we, or those whom we support, do have skeletons, we ought not to equate the excavation of those skeletons (which no one denies exist with Trump or successor) with the wholly false charges brought against the only true Savior. Having our past sins used as a weapon against us is not akin to bearing the sins of the world.

Neither is Trump Satan. Our country’s ills will not be cured by this conviction or even a panoply of them. Our problem as a country is not Trump (nor Biden), but us. “Moral outrage” that flames out when our heroes are the perpetrators shows how we eagerly do the Prince of Lies’ work fine on our own.

I am not arguing for complete ambivalence toward this political moment, mind you. Rightly handling a charge against a former president right is a huge deal. Our whole society benefits from these trials achieving justice, not affirmation of our preferences. We know the aftershocks of today’s decision will rattle our society and world for a long time to come.

Will the dust settle to show the trial was conducted under rampant political bias? Will the judgment be borne out as correct even in appeals? Whether the trial was conducted rightly or wrongly, it is no joy to have a president of the United States be convicted of felonies for the first time. This is a heartbreaking turn and I’m not sure we even understand all the implications of it yet.

Instead, our national inconsistency should encourage a redirection of our emotions — happy or sad — today. We are hypocritically inconsistent, but God is absolutely consistent. He was in control and is in control and will be in control.

Come November, God will be in control if President Biden gets reelected and God will be in control if President Trump gets reelected. Yes, God will even be in control if, in a bizarre twist, a President Kennedy returns to the Oval Office. God is in control.

We can and should continue to advocate for genuine righteousness to prevail, including in this case. God values our pursuit of what is just and right. The important thing along the way is to remember where our hope lies so that we aren’t blinded by defending our illusory saviors, but are free to pursue the Good knowing we don’t need to tip the scales for Good to prevail.

We can act with justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:8) because Jesus is the Savior. We can pray for leaders, friends or foes (1 Timothy 2:1-2), because Jesus is the Savior. We can trust and not bog down in worry (Matthew 6:25-34), because Jesus is the Savior.

When we quit acting like we’re saving ourselves and recognize our hope is in Jesus, today is sad, but neither apocalyptic nor utopic.

The Savior is in control. That’s our hope.

Timothy R. Butler is Editor-in-Chief of Open for Business. He also serves as a pastor at Little Hills Church and FaithTree Christian Fellowship.

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