President Donald Trump is radically deficient when it comes to embracing any public semblance of humility. This is an impossible fact to ignore, regardless of whether you’re his political fan or foe.
And if you’re a Christian, this should matter. And bigly. Don’t just take my word for it, though.
The Bible doesn’t mince words when it comes to ego. James 4:6 reads, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble'” And Proverbs 11:2 reads, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” And the verses go on…and on.
Trump, who shocked and wowed the world when he won the presidential election back in November, has proven that a tiger truly can’t change its stripes. Known for decades as a shrewd businessman and celebrity entertainer, he was always saying (and thinking) that he created, sold, made and performed the “best.”
So, in many ways, Trump’s presidential antics and demeanor are more of a continuation of his past character than anything else. In some ways, that’s oddly comforting in the political arena, as it shows that he is, at least to a degree, being himself. And anyone who follows politics knows that’s a rarity.
Trump’s oft-times critical remarks about fellow celebrities and others in the past left the public snickering and giggling, but that was then; this is now. Trump, who is without a doubt the most powerful man in the world, has shown us that humility is not an attribute one automatically inherits when he or she enters the oval office.
Instead of amending his past egocentric behavior, the president has shown time and again that he is prone to doubling down and lambasting his critics, even when it is patently divisive.
Trump’s supporters applaud his boisterous, bold and oft-times controversial remarks, while his detractors absolutely abhor them, with both sides digging in their heels. And that’s just the problem: America continues to be divided, with the problem only worsening.
Trump and his predecessor, former president Barack Obama, both failed to make good on their promises to unite the populace. And I get it: it’s a difficult task, but the president, above anyone else, holds the power to at least start the conversation.
We need more than a commander-in-chief. This country, in its current torn and tattered state, needs a uniter-in-chief, a role this president could beautifully play, yet has thus far chosen to ignore. Embarking on that quest to unite the country would truly “make America great again.”
Surely, Trump can’t part the waters on his own and he’s absolutely not alone in helping to fuel the fires, though he holds the power to start a chain reaction of unity; it only requires that he put his pride aside and humble himself before his fans and foes, alike. Some of you are likely scoffing as I write this, but you know, deep in your hearts, that I’m right, and the Charlottesville debacle only highlights the need for a more morally coherent path forward, both for Trump and the nation at large.
It’s not about whether you believe Trump made good points during his presser — or whether you think, just the opposite, that he was sympathizing with neo-Nazis.
The real issue boils down to the president’s willingness to put the unity of the country above himself.
Generally speaking, the true test of one’s character is the ability to, at moments, put aside the quest to be seen as “right” (especially when you know you are) and to, instead, bite the bullet and sacrifice pride for the sake of creating or sustaining peace. Trump has avoided this at all costs, even when simple acts or statements would secure him goodwill. Sometimes, it even seems like he goes out of his way to say things that only make matters worse.
A willingness to try and temper political and cultural storms, I believe, makes the difference between deficient and tremendous presidents. Trump himself surely wants to be seen as the latter, but reaching that goal requires that he turn the tide on his tone and rhetoric.
Some of you reading this right now will assume I’m some anti-Trump media type, though I have consistently urged people to be fair to this president, to show grace and to try and take a rational approach to both him and his policies. I have also been vocal over the past year about the troubling level of media bias that has many times targeted the president and his allies.
On one side, I’m critiqued by those who oppose Trump and on the other any critiques of the president have been seen by his supporters as some sort of treasonous rhetoric.
In the end, though, I have a deep concern: too many of us as Christians are willing to overlook Trump’s inability to be humble and his refusal to put pride to the side, and that can really damage our witness, especially when we align with him without pinpointing when it’s clear that he’s acting in a way that violates the very gospel we hold dear.
Scoring political points or securing social victories isn’t an excuse to ignore what’s right. Furthermore, as a nation divided, we’re in need of leaders who truly seek goodwill for all.
Again, Trump isn’t to blame for all the chaos and strife, but he certainly hasn’t helped the situation. And in calling out his own struggles with pride, it’s a good opportunity for us each to consider how we’re interacting and processing debates and discussions and whether we, too, are being humble enough.
Let’s pray that we all take a better path forward and that our president leads the way.