Love comes first: We love you Auntie Maxine, but what you said was not right
Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself, according to Mark 12:30-31.
As a Christian, no matter how frustrated you may be with some of President Donald Trump’s policies, you cannot endorse the harassment and mistreatment of his supporters, despite what U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, affectionately known as “Auntie Maxine,” says.
Recently, the outspoken California-based Democratic leader, 79, addressed a group in Los Angeles and encouraged them to intimidate and run Trump’s cabinet members out of public spaces.
What she said:
“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”
While Auntie Maxine is to be commended for hitting back against immigration policies that forcibly separated thousands of children from their immigrant parents at the U.S. border with Mexico, and other unfair practices, her method is incongruent with Christian values.
Love is the goal.
We are to show love, compassion, kindness and gentleness, even to those we oppose. Matthew 5:47 NIV says, “And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”
Our love cannot be reserved only for those who think like us. That’s not real love. Even if there is a perceived enemy, Matthew 5:44 says love them and pray for them.
Though the crowd cheered when Auntie Maxine promoted harassment as a political tactic, such rhetoric must never be praised by followers of Jesus Christ. In a day and age where civility seems to be a thing of the past, political diatribes such as these are not helpful.
Most certainly, they are not pleasing to God.
What about Trump? What about you?
Some say President Trump has created a climate of incivility. He has promoted violence. He has said unsavory things. He has embraced policies that don’t favor the poor and marginalized in society. All of this is true and yet, it does not mean believers in Christ should follow suit.
Imagine getting to the judgment gate and explaining to God, I acted out because so-and-so acted out, too?
Will that get you off the hook? No, it won’t. That excuse won’t fly at the pearly gates. Romans 4:12 says, “Each of us will give a personal account to God.” We are individually responsible for our own actions. It’s like the age-old example every parent gives: if your friend jumps off a cliff are you going to jump, too?
That would be crazy.
So is harassing someone simply because their political viewpoint doesn’t match yours.
Speak out. Fight back. But do it the right way.
While it is important to speak out against and fight policies that harm the weak, innocent and disenfranchised, there is an appropriate and inappropriate way to do this. Harassing others would be the inappropriate way. Attacking members of the Trump administration in person or online goes against the biblical command to be a reflection of Christ’s love in all things.
Like it or not, Jesus-followers don’t get to put biblical principles aside based on political affiliation or feelings about presidential policies.
Of course we are not to be tepid in our response to wrong, nor are we to look the other way when people are hurting. Action is necessary. Resistance has its place. But bullying and mistreating others is never okay.
The Word of God is the standard in all things.
Matthew 5:13-14 teaches us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We set the tone for everyone else. We are not followers of the world, but followers of the Word. We do not conform to the world’s standards, but the Word’s standards.
We should model the love of Christ always.
As we take up the cause of the needy, come against social injustice, and fight for human rights, let us be cognizant of our strategies. We must make sure that any action we take is in alignment with the word of God.
Any command that does not align with what Jesus teaches, even if it comes from the lovely and noble Auntie Maxine, cannot be followed.
Furthermore, how would you feel if the shoe were on the other foot?
Should you be harassed for your viewpoint? Well, if you want to enjoy a harassment-free public outing, perhaps Luke 6:31 NIV will resonate with you. It says, "Do to others as you would have them do to you. "