Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dear Mr. Trump (on Faith and Forgiveness)

Dear Mr. Trump,

Allow me to begin by introducing myself: I am Molly, a 35 year old mother of three with a background in finance, theology, and non-profit. I, like much of red America, like dogs, bacon, my SUV, red wine, and toasted marshmallows dipped in Irish cream.

I was quite interested to follow your little dust-up this weekend at the Family Leadership Summit, and that is what I'd like to talk to you about right now. I realize that the odds of you reading this are probably even lower than the odds of me voting for you (if that were possible), but I write anyway, because that is what bloggers do.

I also write because there is something great at stake. Not America, silly, although I, too, would like to see America be great again. I'm talking about your soul.

What went through your mind on Saturday morning when Mr. Luntz asked you if you had ever asked God for forgiveness? Did you consider lying to him, knowing that's what this Christian audience would want to hear? I find it truly remarkable that you did not say a simple, "yes." I wonder if that's because you have considered what that "yes" would cost you and you don't want to touch it with a ten-foot pole?

I don't mean to talk down to you, but I considered that "yes" this morning as I had to discipline my two year old for disobedience. After discipline, I asked her to apologize, and she refused. I persisted, not because it makes me feel good to hear her say "I'm sorry," but because of what that "I'm sorry" means for her heart. I asked her if she was afraid to say "I'm sorry," if it would somehow damage her sense of self or her well-being. Even at two, she gets how vulnerable "I'm sorry" makes you. Some might call it pride and leave it at that (there's a lot of that, too), but I've actually thought about this a lot. I understand that it's deeply unnerving to admit to having been wrong, to verbalize it, because it hints at cracks at the very foundation of your being. If I lose this, who am I, and what will I have left?

I took my little girl's peachy-soft, squeezy cheeks in my hands, I held her face to look in my eyes, and I pleaded with her to understand, first of all, her need for forgiveness, and secondly, the freedom that comes therein. The freedom of knowing that you are loved irrevocably, that your identity is sealed unshakably, that no matter what you do wrong, and however many times, it doesn't change God's -- or this family's -- love for you.

Mr. Trump, I can't take your cheeks in my hands, and it would be awfully creepy if I did, but let me do it metaphorically: asking God to forgive you may feel like it costs you so much ... too much. But, what good will it do for you if you gain the whole world (to which you sometimes seem very close) but lose your soul?

I find it telling that, when asked about your faith, you responded, "I own many of the most beautiful buildings in the world." You are a true American, Mr. Trump, but I don't mean that in a complimentary sense this time. I mean that you have substituted faith in yourself, in your bootstraps, for faith in your Maker. I just heard in church Sunday morning how God feels about tall buildings, and I'll give you a hint: he's not super impressed, especially when they are a means for people to believe that they no longer have need for God.

In case you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm referring to the tower of Babel, where God confused the ambitious builders' languages and foiled their plans. In this judgment also came mercy. If we are convinced that we don't need God, do we then really not need him? Or are we simply comfortably deceived, for God has given us the grave judgment of leaving us to our own devices, a truly hopeless condition given the God-sized chasm between mankind and the Almighty. Mr. Trump, you may have the best architects in the world, but they cannot build for you that bridge.

Jesus is on record as saying that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. You are a very rich man, as we all know, but that does not mean that the Kingdom of God is out of reach for you. The very next thing that Jesus said is, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Mr. Trump, your antics this past weekend may have cost you the race, but you have so much more to gain. Today, if you hear His voice, let Mr. Luntz's questions about faith and forgiveness be a wake-up call to you. Today can be a day of salvation.

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