It’s simple. Many evangelicals are okay with Donald Trump’s behavior because we allow, and often support, the “Trumps” among us.
Many evangelicals grow enamored with people who “succeed”, especially in the business world. We allow these people all sorts of leverage to act however they choose and believe that since they have money or a prestigious job title, they are leaders in all forms, including spiritually and emotionally.
Often what Christians value as peace among us, is simply not that. We let bullies be bullies in the church because we tell ourselves we are patient, forgiving and peaceful when really all we do is ignore the issue and let the hate and hurt continue.
Having volunteered or worked at several different ministries and churches over the years, I know firsthand the existence of “Trumps” in evangelicalism.
Below are characteristics I see in Trump, but believe are prominent among evangelicals, especially in leadership positions:
TELLING YOU SOMETHING YOU ALREADY KNOW LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW IT
Once I asked an associate pastor, why, if church policy permitted women to lead small groups, a woman wasn’t allowed to lead a group in a particular situation. He responded with arguments for limiting women’s roles. I already knew of these arguments, and I’m sure he was aware that I knew. Those arguments weren’t relevant, however, since the church’s policy had already been created. People with this characteristic don’t answer questions directly and somehow confuse you on what you think about an issue even if you are very certain of what you think.
OBSESSION WITH PROMINENCE
Many people may become star-struck if they meet a famous person, that’s normal. But, people with this characteristic surround themselves with prominent people to then elevate their status or the status of their organization. And then, along the way, everyone who came before and is “less” prominent gets pushed out or dropped.
This may occur when a person states he or she is older, more spiritual, more mature, more accomplished, and so forth, in an effort to wield influence over others. In healthy relationships, these factors are immaterial even if they are true. People who constantly rely on these statements are trying to remind you of their authority, and may try to use it in a damaging way.
IGNORANCE IN MANY THINGS
People with the characteristic of ignorance may overcompensate for it by deflecting and lashing out at others. But, often I’ve found that instead they bully people around them into doing the tasks they lack the skill to complete. I’m not sure if they think it is beneath them to learn the needed skills, or that they don’t have the confidence to accomplish them. Perhaps it’s both.
A LOVE OF MONEY
This characteristic differs a little from Trump. Trump is very clear about his love for money. In the church, most (but not all) realize they shouldn’t be so blatant about it. It shows when someone is all about having the latest, newest, and shiniest items. These are the people who dress the best, go on expensive vacations every year and always want the most updated software. None of those are wrong, but it’s the attitude and the entitlement that drives these desires that’s damaging.
I believe there are far more people in the church and in church leadership who want to engage in healthy, mature relationships, but, the “Trumps” among us leave a trail of hurting and broken people.
The support of Trump in this country serves as an eye-opener to what we allow to take place around us in our daily lives. For those of us who see the abusiveness of these actions, we need to speak up.
More importantly than standing up to Donald Trump, we need to stand up to the “Trumps” around us. We need to call for spiritual and emotional health in the church. Situations may become less peaceful for awhile if the people speaking up are serious about positive change, but in the end, you and the others influenced by the “Trumps” will no longer live in continual hurt and brokenness, but in healed, healthy situations.