The power of fear
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”
(2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
There is a wave of fear sweeping across the globe. It is being manifested in wars, economics, politics and religion. The so called BREXIT is a perfect example. The majority of the people of Great Britain voted to leave the European Union because they “want their country back.” They are afraid it is being taken from them.
Britons are afraid their country will be overwhelmed by immigrants who do not look like them, talk like them, have a culture like theirs or worship as they do. They are afraid their daughters or sons will marry some of these immigrants, they are afraid they will lose jobs to these immigrants and they are afraid everything they love about their country will disappear. And apparently what they love most is the whiteness of it.
It is worth noting there was a generational gap in the voting of great proportion. The majority of those under 40 voted to stay in the union as they see themselves as European and not British while the majority of those over 50 voted to leave the EU. They identify as British and nothing else. They, like many in America want to relive their yesterdays. They remember the Great Britain Empire on which “the sun never sets.” That’s a grand memory but it is just a memory.
Trump is right in saying there is the same fears in America. All the talk of “taking America back” has as its underpinning the same xenophobia, economic insecurities and class divisions so evident in Great Britain.
Fear no doubt is what motivated over 1,000 Evangelical pastors and leaders to meet with Donald Trump last week in New York City. Fear I’m sure, is what made Rev. Franklin Graham compare Donald Trump to Moses and David at that same meeting. His contention was neither of those renowned leaders was perfect, both sinned as do we all, so we should not expect Donald Trump to be sinless. I agree.
I for one don’t expect perfection from Trump but I do expect him to have moral character and principles. I expect to that he understands that if he becomes President of these United States, everyone he will govern will not look like him or his family, will not always agree with him as is their right and neither of these things negates their rights as US citizens.
And if we carry the Biblical comparisons further, we understand that the President is a Shepherd and God wants Shepherds who are after His own heart, “Shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Meaning that they are to be people who love God more than they love themselves and whose vision is more than inciting division and anger.
I cannot understand how Christian leaders have become so fearful they minimize their faith and compromise Biblical standards by supporting someone who is the antithesis of all Christians say they believe. It is not a question of who is a sinner because we all are; it is a question of living what one believes as opposed to just a profession of what one believes. One pastor who attended that meeting said Trump is a “baby Christian.” What does that mean? That he does not understand what being new in Christ means, that he is unsure of how the Holy Spirit is to help him rid himself of his old nature or that he is still working out how he cannot serve God and Mammon too?
Either we believe what we say we do as Christians or we do not. Either we believe that our God has complete control over this world and what goes on in it or we do not. Whoever becomes President cannot do so unless God allows it. If Trump becomes President my belief as a Christian is that God knew that it would happen and its all part of His salvation plan. I’m not to despair because to do implies my faith in God is shallow. Or worse, that my faith is something I talk but do not live. It is something verbal not foundational.
The good thing about this election year for those of us in the Body of Christ is that we are finding out about ourselves what God already knew. We may not be pleased with the revelation.
“Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.” (Isaiah 2:8 ESV).