Dear President Trump,
I won’t attack all the things…there’s no point in that. I agree with you wholeheartedly when you say we need to seek solidarity. Little good can come when we’re divided, humanly angry, and stirring up more anger with harsh words.
But on that note- solidarity- there’s one thing I want to address from your address. You say, “We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.” [Emphasis Mine]
You quote Psalm 133:1…but there’s a quote you may have missed on solidarity:
Philippians 2:2-4 says, “make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Mr. President, solidarity comes not through putting our own needs first; rather it comes through humility, valuing others before ourselves. And perhaps you’ll argue that you’re not suggesting that we put our own needs first, just the needs of our NATION first.
But I would have to respectfully disagree…Luke 10:27 says “Love your neighbor as yourself” and once you start putting limits on whom exactly is our neighbor…whew, that’s very slippery slope.
We live in a globally connected world; more than ever my neighbor is not just the person living next door to me; it is both the person here in the U.S. who is struggling in poverty AND the foreigner- the refugee- the AIDS plagued- the trafficked- the oppressed. And once you start shrinking the circle of “who is my neighbor”, you create a precarious house of cards whose foundation appears altruistic, but in reality is based on the god of ME.
Bottom line- love and solidarity is not birthed by deciding whom to exclude- by championing nationalism at the expense of global humanity. That line of thinking moves quickly from “support my nation” to “support my race” or “support middle class” to “support my town” to “support my family” to “support me, me, me.”
And honestly, what seems best for me is rarely best for the whole. And what seems best for me might just be the worst thing for me in the long run.
So please know that we are watching, and we are waiting. And while I’m not entirely sure what my role here is yet, trust me when I say that I’m praying to be ready to stand on the side of justice, whether it’s here on US soil or not. That’s where unity waits.
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[c]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.)