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Donald Trump will become the twelfth US president to meet Queen Elizabeth when the two convene next week. However, Reuters reports that “no other US presidential encounter has generated the same level of opposition and controversy in Britain as Trump’s trip.”
After the president was invited last year, more than 1.86 million people signed a petition saying he should not be accorded a state visit because it could embarrass the queen. Yesterday, protesters were given permission by London’s mayor to fly a giant balloon dubbed the “Trump Baby” near Parliament during the president’s visit on July 13.
In other political news, the New York Daily News carried a July 4 cover depicting President Trump as “the clown who plays king.” On the other side of the aisle, PJ Media‘s July 4th cartoon depicts a donkey representing the Democratic Party blowing out the Statue of Liberty’s torch.
The political rancor of our day is the most divisive and demeaning I have ever seen. And it seems to be getting worse.
What is the key to humility?
As the animosity of our culture escalates, the opportunity for Christians to demonstrate forgiving grace becomes even more compelling. But responding to hatred with kindness requires a level of humility that cares more about what the other person needs than what I want.
This is a depth of humility many of us find challenging.
Humility obviously means I do not think too highly of myself or too lowly of others. But humility also does not mean the opposite–that I think too lowly of myself or too highly of others.
This has been a dilemma for me across much of my Christian life. I knew instinctively that I was not to promote myself, that my purpose is to glorify God rather than self. So, when someone paid me a compliment, I was prone to respond by devaluing myself or my achievement in some way. I’ve often seen this kind of response from fellow Christians over the years.
I am also prone to seek personal humility by overvaluing others, thinking only the best of them and overlooking obvious evidence to the contrary. This approach has caused me to trust some people more than was healthy for them or for me.
I am discovering that the biblical answer to my dilemma is simple: we are to find our security in Christ, then offer that security to the world.
The greatest cry of our culture?
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows that we must feel safe and secure before we can focus on relationships with others.
If we know that our Father loves us as much as he loves his Son (John 17:23, 26), we know that we are secure in the hand of his unconditional grace (John 10:29). We then discover that it is impossible for us to value ourselves or others more than he does.
Now we are free to love other people without requiring that they love us. They don’t have to meet our expectations or earn our grace. And we are free to love ourselves in the same way.
So know this: You were created by your Father with unique gifts and abilities. You have opportunities to serve your Lord and your neighbor that are yours alone. Never minimize these.
But never believe that you earned God’s gifts (by definition, gifts cannot be earned, only received). And never believe that his gifts make you more valuable than anyone else. The God who loves you loves them just as much.
This understanding of humility enables us to respond to hatred and sin with love and grace. It empowers us to shine the light of compassion into a culture dominated by bitterness. It offers others what their souls long for–someone who will love them as they are.
Is such love of neighbor the greatest cry of our culture today?
What was Mr. Rogers’s secret?
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is the surprise hit of the summer box office. In a season dominated by cartoon superheroes and villains, this documentary on the life of Fred Rogers is captivating millions. Variety says that it turns the Presbyterian minister “into a rock star for our time.”
What was Mr. Rogers’s secret?
In his 1995 book, You Are Special: Words of Wisdom for All Ages from a Beloved Neighbor, Fred Rogers observed: “When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along with the fearful, the true mixed in with the façade, and of course, the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way.”
Do you agree?