In the last 12 months it feels as though the world has turned on it’s head. Leicester winning the premiership. Brexit. Trump. Whilst the Foxes unlikely title win was celebrated around the world, the other two have left many feeling a bit more nervous.
Whatever you think of Trump, he’s so far been good to his word. A ban on people from certain nationalities entering the USA. Extreme vetting. A wall across the border with Mexico. Denial of climate change and promises to exploit more of America’s fossil fuels. You can’t say we didn’t see it coming.
Trump says his policies are all about putting America first. Tariffs on imports, cheap exports and favourable rates for homegrown business. Great – that’s what all governments try and achieve. But the more executive orders that he signs the more it seems that the policies being enacted are giving people the opportunity to be selfish. If it’s America first, then that means I can put me first too. If the President is acting like that on behalf of the country, I can act like that myself.
What his policies translate to is a selfish response to anyone’s problems but your own.
In putting aMErica first, Trump runs the risk of allowing selfishness to become (more) acceptable. My worry is that he sees it as a virtue.
We’re all selfish. We can’t ignore it. We all look out for ourselves and as we grow we learn that we need to restrain our selfishness. We can’t always have our own way. Toddlers have to learn to share. Couples have to learn to bend to each others hopes, dreams and desires. Wherever you are in life, you know that being selfish to the detriment of others is not a good thing.
Trump runs the risk of allowing selfishness to become (more) acceptable. My worry is that he sees it as a virtue.
The reason is that community and love, the things we’re built for, are undermined by selfishness. Being selfish destroys love and relationships. It builds walls. It says ‘I’m more important than you, and what I want comes before you or anyone else’. That doesn’t lead to love or wholeness.
As Christians, we know this. We constantly battle against selfishness. We’re aware of it’s power and it’s lure. But Jesus understands, and teaches us another way. He gets that we’re selfish, so he tells us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. He urges us to love our enemies. He teaches us to pray ‘not my will but yours’. And ultimately he lived out that selflessness, dying for us on a cross. You see selfishness builds walls. Selflessness builds bridges.
In nearly every part of our walk with Jesus we need to challenge our me-first attitudes. We need to constantly bring them to God and pray that we’d give all of ourselves to show His love, justice and hope to the world.
And that’s what’s worrying me about Trump. Policies with racist and Islamaphobic undercurrents are bad enough, but do we really need to give the world any further excuse to become more selfish? In a world where there is too much selfishness, where it’s me and my community/country first, where there is intolerance and misunderstanding, we need need to go against the grain, to put others first and seek selflessness.
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.”
Francis of Assisi
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.