16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
As a father, Trump’s actions and words abhor me. I cannot vote for someone who I would be afraid to have around my daughter. As a person who loves my country, Clinton’s strongly questionable actions as Secretary of State disappoint me. I cannot vote for a person who appears to not understand the double-standard that has been set regarding her behavior and the ramifications of such actions for any military personnel who would choose the same actions. However, as a Christ-follower and pastor, I find their inability to be contrite and humble regarding their actions to be most telling. I never want to follow someone who is unable to confess their sins or shortcomings and genuinely ask for forgiveness.
We need healing in our great land. Based upon the words of James, healing occurs when we confess our sins to and pray for one another. I do not ask that our candidates be perfect, but I ask that they are honest and confessional regarding their sins and shortcomings. Sadly, we have seen the exact opposite during this election cycle. Horrible things have been said and harmful actions have occurred. Has either major party candidate expressed humility and contrition which lead to true confession and repentance? A person cannot offer a true confession while practicing projection or casting blame or minimizing their offenses.
But, I have heard others say, “We are not choosing a Sunday school teacher here” or “They were just playing to their base.” As if to say, “This is politics and we excuse comments and actions based upon their political and social contexts.” I wish Donald Trump would truly understand how horrifying and painful his comments are to sexual assault victims. I wish Hillary Clinton would truly grasp how servicemen and service women grow angry when they see a double-standard regarding classified material. But, both candidates do not understand or grasp the weight of their actions because, well, after all, “it’s just politics.”
It’s not “just politics.” It's about the future of my children and grandchildren. It’s about being a decent person who loves and values humanity. And in order to love and value humanity, one must be willing to confess in a contrite and humble way when they have maligned their fellow human. (See Psalm 51 and King David.) I am not asking that a Sunday School teacher be president, but I am asking for a president who strives to pursue “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable” (Philippians 4:8) and to confess when they fall short of the mark. No politician will truly heal our land. Confession and prayer can heal our land.
But, lest I only shed light on the actions of our politicians, I must first understand and admit that confession and prayer starts with me. I cannot control the actions of Mr. Trump or Secretary Clinton, but I can control whether or not I am practicing contrite confession. I can control whether or not I pray for our current and next president. And, I can confess that there have been times during this election season that I have taken my eyes off the King of Kings and have placed them too much on fallible candidates.
Lord, please forgive me of taking my eyes off of you. And Lord, please, heal our land. Heal our land. Heal our land. Amen.
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Hardinsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.