We are ramping up to an election year, and this year is the wildest I have ever witnessed. Every day when I turn on the television, radio, or Facebook, I am bombarded with news from the past day, and especially news concerning Donald Trump’s interactions with various political and economic leaders. Most of those interactions are full of petty insults and hot tempers. If Donald Trump doesn’t like what you’re doing, you can bet your last dollar he’ll tweet about it to the whole world. This rough-sandpaper approach to conflict is doing wonders for Trump in the polls, but is this approach a good example to follow? Should I be more like the Tumultuous Trump?
The Proverbs teach us how to live wisely (or foolishly, if we so choose). Listen to their take on Trump’s approach:
A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. (Prov. 12:16)
A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. (Prov. 14:16)
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Prov. 18:2)
A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. (Prov. 18:6)
Mockers stir up a city, but wise men turn away anger. (Prov. 29:8)
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Prov. 29:11)
Trump's approach is not called wise by God. While it is tempting to imitate such behaviors, and while it may initially feel wonderful to get everything off your chest, in the long run you will find ruin.
Our Lord Jesus instead teaches us to resolve every conflict as privately and quickly as possible. Rather than calling out our grievances from the rooftops, we are to speak privately and make peace without incident (Matthew 18:15). Instead of stomping off to attend another congregation, we ought to be patient when we are wronged and work to make peace with our brethren (Phil. 4:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Our culture is pushing us away from what God calls wise and toward what He calls foolish. Don’t fall into the trap, be patient and kind to each other even in correction, and find the wisdom of God.
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov. 12:18)