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After observing some recent tweets by both President Trump and evangelicals, I felt a strong pull to address what has changed with Christianity in this age of Trump. It is beyond me how some Christians blindly follow this man. It is also very scary as some of the things we are witnessing today are eerily similar to what happened in World War II. I recently read a book called “The Choice” which was written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Oprah recently interviewed Dr. Eger on her show, “Super Soul Sunday”. She is strongly opposed to what is happening at our southern border as she knows what it is like to be treated in that manner. In her book, she explained how she was sent to Auschwitz and forced to go on the death march. She was found barely alive on a top of dead bodies when the Americans came and saved her. She has vowed to fight against the issues at our southern border as much as she can even though she is 92 years old.
What really propelled me into writing this series of blogs was an article that I read on Facebook. A Jewish woman has proposed that a “Book of Trump” be added to the Bible. I just about fell out of my chair when I read this! That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard…and in my opinion, it is sacrilege to even suggest something like that.
What I have decided to do is to compare actual tweets made by President Trump to actual quotes from Jesus that are in the Bible. I hope that by doing this, the reader can see the extremely clear differences in what Trump has said and what Jesus told us to do. Please know that this is just the icing on the cake when it comes to Trump. As you will see, for many of the questions, I quote things that Trump has said on Twitter over the past month ONLY. If I quote every lie or name that he has called someone, I would literally have a book. This blog just gives a very few examples of how Trump’s words and actions do NOT follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes):
- “Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party. Weak, ineffective and stupid are not exactly the qualities that the Republicans…were looking for.”
- “Andy McCabe is a major sleazebag.”
- “Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or Alfred E. Newman, or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas as your President…”
- “I don’t know the Ambassador, but I have been told he is a pompous fool.”
- “Watching Fox News weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams…and the crew of degenerate Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian and Steve tell them to do.”
- “Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress is quitting the party…A total loser!” (He is talking about Justin Amash)
- “We all know that Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez and this crowd are a bunch of communists…”
- “I told Theresa May how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way…”
- “The ‘Squad’ is a very racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart.”
What Jesus said:
- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
- “And if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council.; and if you say,’You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:22
- “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
- “I tell you, on the day of judgment, you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37
What Trump has said since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes, and yes, he does refer to himself in the third person):
- “Our country is the envy of the world. Thank you, Mr. President!”
- “Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world by far, and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…thank you, Mr. President!”
- “They don’t want people to shop at those great stores because he contributed to your favorite President, me!”
- “…rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true stable genius.”
What Jesus said:
- “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
- “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
- “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
- “So I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15
Love of money:
**Note: The point here is not to say that we shouldn’t be happy that the economy is doing well. The point is that Trump’s focus is on money, and he’s not ever happy that he has enough. He always wants more, and this is a problem.
What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019:
- “In the meantime, we are receiving billions of dollars in tariffs from China…”
- “We are doing great economically as a country, number one…”
- “When you are the big piggy bank that other countries have been ripping off for years…”
- “Dow just hit 27,000 for the first time ever!”
- “Ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe and what they sold it for (lost 1.5 billion dollars).”
- “Strong jobs report, low inflation, and other countries around the world doing anything possible to take advantage of the United States.”
- “It could have been even better – massive additional wealth would have been created…”
- “Today’s stock market is the highest in the history of our great country!”
- “We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world.”
- “The economy is the BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN!”
What Jesus said:
- “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24
- “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24
**Note: It is common knowledge that Trump has lied over 10,000 times since he took office. Several media outlets are currently tracking and documenting all of his lies.
What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:
- “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President!”
Truth: There are many ways Trump has made money while he has been President. Here is one example: According to estimates by Dan Alexander and Matt Drange of Forbes, Trump pulls in AT LEAST 175 million annually from commercial tenants in his buildings.
- “So interesting to see Progressive Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe…”
Truth: Trump was talking about the 4 Congresswomen who have recently been in the news. Trump’s comments were viewed as racist, and the House passed a resolution saying that his remarks were racist. Three out of the four women were not born in other countries. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx in New York. Ilhan Oman is a refugee from Somalia and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Rashida Tlaib was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Ayanna Pressley was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- “[Joe Biden] added more debt than all other Presidents combined.”
Truth: According to Forbes, “Trump’s deficits as a percentage of GDP will exceed any other President’s during a time of economic expansion. Under Trump, debt has risen to a record $22 trillion.”
- “Democrats want open borders….”
Truth: At no time has a Democrat ever said that they want open borders. Democrats have said that they want sensible immigration reform. Since Democrats’ idea of immigration reform does not match Trump’s version, Trump immediately jumps to the conclusion that Democrats want open borders. This is false.
- “No collusion. No obstruction.”
Truth: Here is the quote from Mueller’s report which clearly states that Mueller did not make a decision on either collusion or obstruction: “Charging the president with a crime was an option we could not consider. If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
- “As most people are aware, according to the polls, I won every debate…”
Truth: The following data is an average of five polls that were taken during the Clinton/Trump debates. The five polls came from ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal:
Debate #1 – Clinton 43%/Trump 40.4%;
Debate #2 – Clinton 44.8%/Trump 40.8%;
Debate #3 – Clinton 45.8%/Trump 40.4%.
Now, I know that some Trump supporters will call this “fake news”, so I decided to include the numbers from Fox News ONLY:
Debate #1 – Clinton 41%/Trump 40%;
Debate #2 – Clinton 43%/Trump – 40%;
Debate #3 – Clinton 45%/Trump 38%.
So even the Fox News poll proves that Trump lied about this in his tweet!
- “We are building the wall now…”
Truth: As per multiple news sources (including Fox News and other right wing news sources) on July 21, 2019, Trump has not installed a single mile of new wall at the border. As per Fox News, “The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S. – Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise…” According to Customs and Border Protection, all completed fencing was to replace existing fences in need of repair.
- “The Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus, with zero rent or expenses charged, and has been sued by Cuomo and New York State…”
Truth: The Trump Foundation has been shut down. They found that Trump and his children benefited personally and politically from it. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump can never operate a New York charity again because of the corrupt activity that was found.
What Jesus said:
- “‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness…'” Matthew 19:18-19
- “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
What Trump has said:
- “I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f*** her. She was married.” (He was talking about his failed attempt to seduce Nancy O’Dell)
- “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her…I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.” (He was talking about Arianna Zucker)
- During an interview in 2005 with Howard Stern, Trump said, “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed…You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it…is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
- At a 1992 party with Jeffrey Epstein, Trump grabbed a women by the waist, pulled her to him, and patted her on the butt. During that same party, he kissed Faith Daniels even though Daniels was married. He described the kiss as “so open and nice”. Recently a video has surfaced that shows this behavior, and NBC has shared it.
What Jesus said:
- “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17
Note: I know some Trump supporters will point out that this verse comes from the Old Testament, and some will claim “it doesn’t apply because all that changed when Jesus came.” But let me point out these verses from Jesus:
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
- “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” John 5:46-47
Immigration/Helping others who are less fortunate/Lack of compassion:
What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:
- “Failing New York Times is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the border detention centers…”
- “If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions…just tell them not to come.”
- “Sorry, can’t let them into our country.”
- “Many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they came from.”
- “Tell migrants not to come into our country…”
- “Detention facilities are not concentration camps!”
- “If you are not happy here, you can leave.”
What Jesus said:
- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”…” Matthew 22:37-40
- “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…Truly I telll you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:34-40
- “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Luke 3:11
- “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless…” Matthew 9:36
- “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:34
- “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32
- “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.'” Luke 7:13
What Trump has said since July 1, 2019:
- “The Democratic Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most file, hateful, and disgusting things ever said…”
Truth: Trump says hateful and disgusting things almost every day (see examples above).
- “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language and racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular and unrepresentative Congresswomen…”
Truth: Trump has made many racist statements such as:
- “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came…”
- “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? We should have more people from places like Norway.”
- “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country…”
- “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides…” (speaking about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville where Heather Heyer was killed.
- “When will the radical left Congresswomen apologize to our country…”
Truth: Trump attacks people constantly and never apologizes for anything.
- “Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist and public shouting of the F… word…” (He was talking about the 4 Congresswomen)
Truth: The following are just a few examples of actual quotes where Trump has used the F word in public:
- “Listen, you motherf*****s, we’re gonna tax you 25 percent.”
- “We build a school, we build a road…in the meantime, we can’t get a f***ing school in Brooklyn.”
- “We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, ‘You’re not going to raise that f***ing price.”
What Jesus said:
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24
- “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25-26
- “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28
What Trump and his administration has done:
Refused to testify in front of Congress.
KellyAnne Conway has violated the Hatch Act multiple times.
Appears that Trump did obstruct justice regarding the Russia investigation.
What Jesus said:
“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:11-12
So if Trump’s behavior does not fall in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, why do some evangelicals think he is doing God’s work? The following are just three examples of how evangelicals push this narrative, but there are many more:
- “Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation…” Brad Pascale, Trump campaign manager
- “I think that [God] wanted Donald Trump to become President.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders
- “Furthermore, when you consider everything that President Trump has done for people of faith since taking office, it’s easy to see why so many of them agree with Sanders that Donald Trump is doing God’s work.” Paula White, evangelical leader and adviser to Trump.
Jesus told us how we could distinguish between true Christians and those who just say they are Christian but really aren’t:
- “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16
We know that God does not listen to sinners (remember that Trump has openly admitted that he doesn’t repent; therefore he is an unrepentant sinner):
- “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.” John 9:31
And we know that the light cannot mix with the darkness:
- “And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” John 3:19-21
We also know that someone like Trump who is the antithesis of Christianity cannot do the will of God. Jesus explained this in Matthew 12:25:
- “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26
In conclusion, I believe that it is safe to say that Donald Trump is NOT doing God’s work. His words and behavior are the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to act. I believe far-right Christians and some evangelicals believe Trump is “doing God’s work” based purely on the fact that he says he is pro-life (he used to be pro-choice) and that he has assigned conservative judges to the Supreme Court. However, it is extremely important to realize that abortion is not the only issue. In fact, I believe Jesus warned us that hyper-focus on one issue, such as abortion, could lead us down the wrong path. Let’s revisit Matthew 23:23-24. Think about far-right Christians and their hyper-focus on abortion. Then think about all the anti-Christian things Trump has done as evidenced in this blog. Ready? Now read what Jesus said:
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24
The point here is that Christianity involves EVERYTHING that Jesus taught. It is not just about abortion. Yes, the abortion issue is important, but if we focus just on that one thing while ignoring justice and mercy and faith, we are hypocrites and are not doing the will of God.
More to come soon…
In a previous post, I talked about judgement. I explained that only God can judge, and man cannot. Today, I would like to look at a few Bible passages that delve into this topic even further.
How many times have you heard someone claim that only their religion is going to heaven? How many times have you heard someone say that an entire class of people are going to hell? I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard it quite a bit. There are many different religions/groups that actually believe that their way is the only way to heaven. But there are passages in the Bible that refute this line of thinking. Let’s look at a few:
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
Let’s look at that again:
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.”
It should be clear from that statement that those who are saved ARE NOT only from one religion or any one specific group of people. Let’s look at another passage:
“He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.” John 11:51-52
As you can see in that verse, the children of God are “scattered”. It says in this passage that Jesus would die “not only for that nation”.
Do you need more proof? Here’s more:
“To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters…” Isaiah 56:4-5
“And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:6-7
“I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.” Ezekiel 34:12-13
We have to remember that God is love. His love knows no bounds. He knows our hearts and souls, and no human being can claim to have that ability. No human being can possibly know even a tiny amount of what God knows. Anyone, including well-known preachers, cannot determine which human beings are going to heaven or hell. If a preacher does this, he/she is trying to play God, and that is sacrilege. This is why the statement “Do not judge lest ye be judged” is in the Bible. It is a stark reminder that only God knows all and ONLY HE can make the judgement as to whether or not someone is saved.
It’s not about race, denomination, or any other belief system….it’s about what is in your heart and soul, and your actions reflect what is truly in your heart. In short, any person in any race, religion or any other belief system has an opportunity to enter heaven. EVERYONE is a creation of God, and it’s up to each of us to choose. It’s up to us to listen to the good shepherd.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” John 10:3-5
Today, I want to address what my counselor refers to as “dichotomous thinking” or “black-and-white thinking”. This means that a person’s beliefs are absolute – there are no “gray areas”. Today, I talked to my counselor about Trump and how everything seems to be all-or-nothing with him. For example, he says that he’s drawn the biggest crowds ever at a certain event. Then he turns around and attacks someone saying that person is the worst ever. Nothing is ever in the middle. Nothing is ever mediocre in his mind. This is called “dichotomous thinking”.
I’ve seen this kind of thinking before…probably everyone has at one point.
I would like to look at a few examples of this kind of thinking in Christianity and how it does not fall in line with what Jesus taught us. Many years ago, I took part in a discussion about how people get to heaven. This group insisted that the only way to heaven was to accept Jesus as their Savior. I asked the question, “What if a person lives somewhere that is desolate and never heard of Jesus? Say he is a really good person…lived a Christ-like life…but never accepted Jesus because he never heard of him?” Someone immediately responded: “He’s going to hell. Period. He didn’t accept Jesus.” That answer just tore at my soul. If God is love, then how could He turn His back on someone who never heard of Jesus?
During the last year of my marriage, my now ex-husband insisted that he was going to heaven. Period. No ifs, ands or butts. I don’t know where he came up with this…I suspect it was either his family or his mistress (he was having an affair at the time that I wasn’t aware of). When I suggested that Jesus was the judge and not us, he told me that I was wrong. Completely wrong. Later, after I found out about the affair and confronted him, I told him that he was breaking a commandment….a clear commandment that Jesus specifically addresses in the New Testament. His response was “that sounds too judgemental to me”.
Now there are several issues here. In the first case, “dichotomous thinking” is very clear. Besides the fact that we are not the judge (see What is True Christianity, Part I, where I address that issue in detail), biblically, the person’s insistence that the man in question was going to hell can be rebutted. A few verses in John address both situations above. Let’s look at the first situation. Meditate on the following verse:
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause'”.” John 15:22-24
Think about that for a minute. “If I had not come…they would not have sin.” Jesus makes it clear in that passage that if a person didn’t know about Him, they would not be held to the same standard as Christians who do know about Him.
Now, let’s look at the second situation where my ex did know about Jesus.
“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.'” John 15:22-24
As you can see, once you know about Jesus, you are held to a higher standard. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, not wallow in it. These two situations also show how dichotomous thinking can get people in trouble. There ARE gray areas in life.
Once we TRULY accept Jesus, our hearts and souls will change and we will not continue to live in sin. This is not to say that we won’t make mistakes…we will as we are human. But God’s mercy is not to be abused. God’s mercy does not mean that we can continue to live waist deep in sin. If you have proclaimed Jesus as your Savior but still are immersed in constant sin, you truly haven’t accepted Him. Examine your heart and soul and see if you have TRULY allowed Jesus into your heart.
Today, I would like to talk about all the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, the pictures on the news are just awful and heartbreaking. I’m sure most of you have seen the picture of the nursing home residents as they sat in water up to their waists. There was some suspicion that the picture was fake, but Snopes.com has confirmed this picture and story to be true. Thankfully, these elderly victims of Hurricane Harvey have been rescued and are now clean, dry and safe in a new location.
I was completely dismayed when I read a news article this morning that Joel Osteen, the leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, did NOT open the doors of his facility to refugees. This mega church can hold over 16,000 people. I was furious, but I wanted to get the entire true story before writing this blog. I once again checked Snopes.com.
The truth of this story is reported as a “Mixture” of true and false per Snopes. It is true that he did not open his church doors immediately citing flooding in the building. However, many different people went to the church to take pictures, and there was no flooding seen in and around the church. In addition, the police and other emergency personnel had not received any calls for help in that general area. Was there flooding in the building? We will never know for sure, but according to pictures, videos and reports from emergency personnel, there is no reason to think there was any problem at Lakewood Church.
Because Mr. Osteen didn’t open the doors to his church, he was hammered on social media. Hundreds of people went on the attack asking why a Christian preacher like himself wouldn’t open doors to the needy. Snopes attempted to contact the church, but as of the writing of this blog, there has been no response. Then things changed. This morning, days after the hurricane first hit and AFTER people spoke up about this issue, Joel Osteen sent out a message via his website that they would be opening the doors to Harvey refugees.
What took him so long? In my opinion, he only opened his doors because he was pressured by the public into doing so. That’s what it looks like to me. Am I impressed that Mr. Osteen opened the doors to his mega church this morning? Nope. I am thankful, but I am not impressed. Too little, too late.
We as Christians are supposed to help those in need. The Bible addresses this over and over again:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” Hebrews 6:10
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Luke 6:38
“Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27
“Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” Romans 12:13
“Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
There are so many other verses just like these in the Bible – these are just a few. The lesson here is that Joel Osteen, in the spirit of true Christianity, should have opened the doors of Lakewood Church immediately…not waiting days and after mounting public pressure.
I point this out because, as I said in the first blog of this series, I see a section of so-called Christianity that is being misled. Is Mr. Osteen a terrible Christian? I can’t say that. Like I said yesterday, we are not the judge. We don’t know Mr. Osteen’s heart – only God knows that. But I can point out instances where pastors don’t live up to true Christian values that are taught to us by God. Watch for behavioral patterns in these pastors. If they say something or act in a way that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, question it. Satan is very sly and will use tactics that many people will miss. This is why it is so important to pick up the Bible and read it yourself. Get immersed in God’s Word. Know the truth. Then and only then will you be able to see the real truth in others. Remember, too, that false prophets are out there. Meditate on this verse:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ – do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
It’s funny how God gets His message across to those who believe in Him.
Yesterday, I wrote a long blog on a subject that has really been bothering me, but I didn’t publish it. It was way too long, and I went off on tangents, so the whole thing was messy. I decided to think about the subject a little bit more. I decided to write a week’s worth of short blogs.
The subject has to do with Christianity. You see, over the course of my life, I have run into so many people who focus mostly on John 3:16. They believe that all they have to do is to say “Jesus is My Savior” and they are guaranteed entrance into heaven. These people believe that it doesn’t matter what they do or how they act – they can sin all they want to, but it doesn’t matter. They say the words, “Jesus is My Savior” and they believe that is all that needs to be done.
I’ve thought for a long time how people like this came to believe this way. I thought that maybe the idea that they don’t have to follow the Ten Commandments was appealing because it means it would be easier to get into heaven. Well, yeah, if you can still get to heaven even if you continue to live in sin, wouldn’t you want to believe that – I mean that makes things a lot easier doesn’t it? Sad thing is, it just plain isn’t true, and Jesus himself said so. I will explain this in greater detail below.
Another concern that crossed my mind – are these people just listening to their preacher every Sunday? Do they ever just open up the Bible and read it themselves? Hmmm…well, that is a possibility.
Yesterday, part of what I wrote had to do with the suggestion for everyone to open up their Bible and read it. Especially read the entire New Testament. It puts John 3:16 into context.
Interestingly, my mom told me this morning that today (August 28) is the feast day of St. Augustine. This saint was born in 354 AD and had a rather wild childhood, and he even left Christianity for a while. One day, as he wept under a fig tree, he prayed and asked God for help. Suddenly, St. Augustine heard a child’s voice say “Tolle Lege” over and over again. “Tolle Lege” translated means “take up and read”. He picked up a scroll and read Romans 13:13-14 which changed his soul, and he was converted. In St. Augustine’s own words:
“By a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart – all the gloom of doubt vanished away.”
Interesting that today is St. Augustine’s feast day – the same day that I have written this blog about reading the Bible! God works in mysterious ways.
I am concerned about today’s Christianity. I believe a section of it has taken a wrong turn. I have heard preachers, some very well-known, that make statements that I know are not biblically based. So, I am going to write short blogs over the course of a week and address some of these statements and ideas made not only by evangelical preachers but also their followers.
Several months ago, someone who I knew said to me, “I guess you think you know more than Franklin Graham?” She was upset because I had challenged her on some of her beliefs. My answer to her was “yes”. Why? Because I listen to God, not man, and I told her this. About a year ago, after hearing some of these disturbing remarks by the religious right, I decided to sit down and read the New Testament from beginning to end. Although John 3:16 is one of the most beautiful verses in the Bible, it must be taken in context with what is said in the rest of the New Testament.
The truth is this: No one is automatically guaranteed access into heaven. I know that is probably going to shock a lot of people, but just stay with me for a minute and meditate on this verse actually stated by Jesus himself in the gospel of Matthew: “NOT EVERYONE WHO SAYS TO ME, LORD, LORD, WILL ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.” Matthew 7:21. It doesn’t get clearer than that! But He goes on, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me you evildoers.‘”Matthew 7:22-23. Go back and read those verses again….and again. This puts John 3:16 into perspective, doesn’t it? Yes, we can say that we believe in Jesus, but in the end, Jesus is the judge, not us. If we know for sure who is going to heaven as some evangelicals would have you believe, there would be no need for God. ONLY GOD knows what is in the hearts of men. Human beings CANNOT say whether someone is going to heaven or hell, and that includes preachers. Jesus expects us to turn our back on sin, and I think he made it very clear in these verses that you can’t fool Him. He knows our heart. Franklin Graham, Jerry Fallwell, Andrew Wommack, and others DON’T know what is truly in our hearts and therefore cannot judge. No human being can judge another. Remember, Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest ye be judged”.
This drives home the point that by focusing on just one or two verses in the Bible, you can easily be misled. My advice to everyone is “Tolle Lege” (Take Up and Read). Don’t rely only on your preacher during Sunday service to teach you about God. Pick up your Bible and read it. It is the only way to true peace and to the absolute Truth.
Well, I really don’t want to be involved in politics in any way. However, since the ugly behavior after this historic election has dipped into my religious beliefs (will explain in this blog), and I do like to blog on Christianity, I decided after thoughtful prayer that I must address the hate seen in America today. It affects Christianity because a lot of people who call themselves “Christian” are not acting in a Christian manner. This behavior may instill negative views about Christians, so I feel a need to clarify a few things, even going so far as to call out some of my fellow “Christians”. It’s a bit lengthy but worth the read in my opinion 🙂
Hypocrisy. Jesus warns us over and over again about hypocrisy throughout the gospels:
“You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to give it water?” Luke 13:15
“So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others.” Matthew 6:2
“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” Matthew 7:5
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25
These are just a few.
So how does this relate to the election? Well, both sides are so quick to throw insults at the other side,but each candidate has their own long list of issues. I recently saw a meme of a woman crying, and it said “I argued with conservatives, they used facts”. Well, I will now present many facts showing that neither side should be throwing insults at anyone.
Let me start by saying that I did not support either Clinton or Trump during this election. I saw serious problems with both candidates. What bothers me most and the reason I decided to write this blog is that the amount of the hypocrisy and hate that is out there. And it is coming from both sides!
Let’s start with a little background on Hillary. Here is a list of issues that have concerned voters:
- Clinton Foundation issues – the pay-to-play scheme between Hillary and the Clinton Foundation has led to serious issues and concerns. There is a strong possibility of an indictment. Although Mrs. Clinton signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that she would not accept money from foreign governments during her years as Secretary of State, the Foundation did accept several million from seven different foreign governments. According to CNN, some e-mails between top Clinton aides were suspicious and added that these e-mails “raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure…” In October, 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to determine if there was any evidence of financial crimes.¹
- Whitewater scandal – tax evasion and fraud were found. Vince Foster, the primary legal council for the case, committed suicide which cast a very dark cloud over the Clintons and their involvement.
- E-mail scandal – Hillary’s use of a private e-mail server during her years as Secretary of State has led to a very prolonged investigation. Although she has been cleared as of now, questions still remain.
- Leaked e-mails show that there may have been some behind-the-scenes attempts to get Bernie Sanders out of the picture during the election process.
- Hillary told the story of how she was under sniper fire when she landed in Bosnia; however, the video of her exiting the plane clearly shows this not to be true.
- The Benghazi scandal – this was a very clear a and definite failure on the part of the State Department. She lied about the cause saying it was a result of an anti-Islam video. She was also able to skirt around taking responsibility for the loss of four lives during the attack.
- Bill Clinton’s sexual history – Juanita Broaddick accused Mr. Clinton of raping her in the late 1970s. She denied the rape for many years but recently accused him again. Paula Jones filed a lawsuit against him in 1994 in which she claims he exposed himself to her. During the deposition, Clinton denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky which we all know now was a lie. The lawsuit ended with an out-of-court settlement. Kathleen Wiley claimed that Clinton had groped her, but her testimony was thrown out because it was determined that she had lied repeatedly.²
Now, here are the issues surrounding Trump:
- Trump Foundation issues – The Foundation gave $25,000 to the Florida Attorney General’s office (Pam Bondi) while she was reviewing fraud allegations against Trump University. Her office didn’t bring any charges against the Trump Foundation, and there is some concern that this may have been bribery. The Foundation used some of its money to settle legal disputes with Trump’s for-profit businesses, and some of the money may have also been used for political purposes during his presidential campaign. In October, they were ordered to cease fundraising for the Foundation because they were violating state law by soliciting donations without prior authorization.³
- Trump has used bankruptcy laws to get out of paying debt, leaving his workers to foot the bill. He also refuses to release his tax returns.
- Trump University – now defunct, the state of New York has filed a $40 million lawsuit stating that false claims were made and that the University defrauded people. Trump was found personally liable for failing to obtain a business license.
- Trump has been married three times and has had multiple affairs.
- Trump’s sexual issues – First of all, Trump himself admitted on a 2005 Howard Stern show that he entered the dressing rooms of beauty pageant contestants while they were undressing. Second – the October 2016 release of the audio clip from Access Hollywood caused a huge uproar when he made multiple inappropriate comments, particularly “grab them by the p***y”. Third, multiple women have accused him of sexual harrassment. Jill Harth filed a lawsuit in 1997 saying that Trump attempted to put his hands between her legs in 1992. She also states that he pushed her against the wall and tried to kiss her. The case was settled out of court. Jessica Leeds claimed that while on a flight (1980s), Trump attempted to put his hand up her skirt and grabbed her breast. In the 1990s, Kristen Anderson claimed he groped her at a Manhattan night club. And there are quite a few more.(4)
OK, so now that we have the background, let’s look at some of the mean, hateful things that are being posted around the internet. First we’ll do the anti-Hillary stuff:
- I’ve seen quite a few people refer to Hillary as narcissistic.
- REALLY?? Trump is the definition of narcissism. Clear hypocrisy.
- Someone was happy that a person was shot at the Azusa polling station in California, saying “At least they are killing CA liberals”.
- This one speaks for itself, but I will say it anyway – look in the mirror. Look at your own candidate!
- I can’t even count the number of times Hillary has been called “crooked”.
- I can agree as we all know she is corrupt, but look above at what Trump has done.
- “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
- “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged…” Matthew 7:1. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be judged by those measures. If you decide to judge either candidate, be my guest. I would be careful, though, especially when both candidates have such a long history of issues….
- There’s a meme which says “Hi, I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. Why don’t you take a seat?” There is a picture with Hillary walking in the room.
- We could EASILY put Trump’s picture in place of Hillary’s picture. Clear hypocrisy.
- Another meme – Picture of Hillary and it says “This loser will never be president. Get over it losers.”
- Let’s remember this Bible verse: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
- Picture of Hillary with the caption, “Satan, why have you forsaken me?”
- Again, look at the list of issues above regarding Donald Trump.
- Again,“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
- Another meme – “Pro-God, Pro-Country, Pro-Life, Proud to be Pro-Trump, 2016”.
- Pro-God? Jesus preaches kindness and compassion. Where is Trump’s compassion when he makes fun of a disabled person? Where is his kindness when he calls people “weak” or “a disaster” when they don’t agree with him (which, BTW, is also extremely narcissistic)?
Now for the anti-Trump comments:
- I saw a sweatshirt with the following statement: “Trump sucks. If you like Trump, you suck too.”
- REALLY?? Look at Hillary’s list of issues above.
- Many make fun of his hair and the orange-colored makeup on his face.
- All I can say is let’s remain focused on the issues. This is nit-picking and not necessary.
- There is a Wizard of Oz meme saying that Trump “doesn’t have a brain”.
- Again, not necessary. We need to stick to the issues.
- I saw a news report where a Chicago man was beaten and his car was stolen, all because he voted for Trump.
- Awful!!! We as Americans have the right to vote as we wish without the threat of violence.
- There are some people who are carrying around “Kill Trump” signs during the protests.
- Any threat of violence is unacceptable and should never be tolerated.
- I know of someone who was called “racist” for voting for Trump.
- Putting everyone in one big category is just wrong. Yes, there are racists out there, but just because someone voted for Trump doesn’t mean he/she is automatically a racist. Some that voted for him did so because of the Supreme Court as they want more conservative judges to occupy those positions. They are not hateful, racist bigots.
- I read that the CEO of GrubHub told his employees that if they supported Trump, they need to resign.
- This again is unacceptable and just plain wrong. We live in a democracy, and we all have the right to vote as we wish.
Now, to finish out this blog, I want to address how religion ties into all of this.
Neither Clinton nor Trump supporters really have any right to throw insults at the other candidate. Each candidate has baggage, and to finger-point is completely and totally hypocritical on both sides.
I know that some people were told to vote for Trump in order to get conservative judges in the Supreme Court. I do understand this reasoning as I struggled with it as well. It was a very real concern, and that is one reason why I am happy that Trump is now president. But that’s the only reason.
Franklin Graham recently made this statement: “I believe God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic, progressive agenda from taking control.” This statement does not make sense nor does it support Christianity. Donald Trump is an adulterer, a self-proclaimed greedy man, and someone who has left the small businessman out in the cold by filing bankruptcy even though he has billions. Take a look again at the list above. Does this man really sound like the type of person Jesus calls us to be?? Of course not. Franklin, I would re-think that comment. Wayne Grudem called Trump a “flawed candidate”, but thankfully he stated that he regretted that comment and he changed his opinion, asking for Trump to drop out of the race prior to the election. Sin is sin, and immorality is immorality. You cannot call someone a sinner and then turn around and call someone else “flawed”. Again, that is hypocrisy.
Politifact states that Trump’s statements are verifiably false 76% of the time (DallasNews.com), so we can safely say that Trump lies. Whatever happened to “Thou shalt not lie?” For all those who praised God for the election of Donald Trump, did you conveniently forget all the sins this man has committed? Yes, I do believe in forgiveness, but this man hasn’t repented as far as I can tell. He needs to truly apologize, especially to women (not saying it’s just locker room talk) and to the disabled. According to what is written in the Bible (and that’s all I can go on), I would venture to say that God isn’t happy with either of the candidates. I would bet He isn’t happy with America. Why?? Because none of us can get out of our own way to actually see the truth, and the truth is that we are all hypocrites.
Jesus taught us to be kind. He gave us the Ten Commandments which He expects us to follow. He expects us to love one another. To love our neighbors as ourselves. Christianity is centered around kindness, mercy, forgiveness, empathy, love, and faith. So-called “Christians” who can do nothing more than send out a constant stream of hateful posts, messages, videos, etc. are not practicing true Christianity. I don’t want those who are not Christian to look at us and think “what hypocrites!” Many do, and it’s the result of this kind of behavior. I want these non-Christians to know that true Christianity does not condone this kind of behavior. Jesus NEVER taught us that violence, distasteful comments, hateful memes, gloating over an election win, lying, adultery, etc. was alright. It is NEVER alright. We are to love each other just as God loves us and we are to follow His commands. I am ashamed at the behavior of some of the American citizens right now, especially those who say they are Christian but don’t act it. I think it’s time for people to stand back, look at all the facts, think about what they have done and then re-evaluate their behavior. We need to act like true Christians, not hateful hypocrites.
The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright ©1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.
Have you ever met someone who appears like a very Christian person, but as you get to know them, things aren’t quite as they seem?
I’ve come across quite a few people like this. They love to preach to everyone else about Christianity, but then they talk behind other people’s backs, insulting everything they do. They expect everyone else to follow the commandments, but then turn around and break those very commandments themselves. The put others down for immoral behavior, yet they turn around and act in an immoral fashion.
These are the type of people who, through their actions, turn many people away from Christianity. People can see the hypocrisy in their actions, and many are disgusted with their behavior. They are referred quite commonly to the “holier than thou” group, and rightfully so. I refer to these people as false prophets, and Jesus speaks to this many times in the Bible.
“Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you than unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Thus by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!'” Matthew 7:20-23
“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:27-28
Remember that old saying, “actions speak louder than words?” Nowhere is it more important to remember this than in Christianity. True Christians will not only speak of Jesus and the Bible, but they will actually live the Word and follow the commandments. They will not make up excuses for their own immoral behavior or try to justify their non-Christian attitudes toward other people. They will serve others willingly and be accepting of all people, showing love to everyone around them while being truthful, addressing non-Christian behavior in a compassionate way.
If you come across a “false prophet”, remember that Jesus himself said “Do not be deceived”. The Bible also says to “guard your heart”, so be aware and protect yourself, asking God for a hedge of protection around you. And most importantly, know that this kind of behavior is not true Christianity. Also, know that there are many, many wonderful Christians that do live by the Word of God and truly believe it in their heart and soul. They show great love, mercy and compassion for others, and you can recognize them by their actions.
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them: they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15: 13-14.
“If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” Matthew 19:17