By now, I’m sure the majority of you have heard about Trump’s newest scandal over the leaked video footage of the Donald and Billy Bush casually chatting about sexual assault. It keeps getting harder and harder to keep up with Trump scandals, but this one really struck a nerve with me as a woman, as a wife, and as a mother. While Trump’s words are sadly not surprising, the justification and excuses being made on his behalf kind of are. It is being brushed of as “locker room banter,” and I’ve seen the “boys will be boys” kind of excuses flying all over comment sections on social media. While I won’t dive into it too deeply on this post, I think it’s extremely important to point out that those kind of statements are what make the Brock Turners of the world; these statements normalize rape and sexual assault in this country and teach our sons and daughters a very dangerous lesson.
Trump’s words were not just locker room banter. Trump is not a middle school boy talking about the girl in third period’s cleavage; he’s a 60 year old man [at the time] talking about sexually assaulting women just because he’s famous and can. If you don’t see the glaring difference here, I urge you to read more about sexual assault and how it impacts women. I urge you to read or listen to his words, replace ’em with the name of your wife or daughter, then try and find a way to justify it.
But moving on to the main thing I’d like to address here: as Christians, we need to collectively stop excusing Trump’s mouth as “just words.” I see so many posts and comments about how we can excuse his vulgar, degrading comments because they are just words. We should be glad he’s saying what others are too afraid to say. We should be glad we finally have someone speaking his mind. We should stop reading so much into the words and wait to see his actions. We should trust that he will straighten up in office when he’s surrounded by advisers. We should stop being offended so much over WORDS.
The problem here is that they are not just words.
From a Biblical standpoint, I cannot accept these excuses because I believe the vile things constantly spewing from Trump’s mouth are not just words, but a reflection of his heart. And if his heart is full of hate, narcissism, misogyny, lies, deceit, xenophobia, racism, sexism, slander, and violence like his lips are near constantly professing, I hope that he does not become the face of our great nation.
Like Tim Kaine mentioned in the Vice Presidential debate, Matthew 12:34 says, “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” In other words, what is in your heart determines what comes out of your mouth. The Biblical commentary on this verse describes the heart as a fountain and words as the streams. “Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication.” Instead we have muddy streams. “Lust and corruptions, dwelling and reining in the heart are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions to dishonor God and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, the we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.” Here are just a few or many more times our tongue/words are mentioned–
The heart of the wise instructs his mouth (Proverbs 16:23); For a fool speaks nonsense and his heart inclines towards wickedness (Isaiah 32:6); But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile man (Matthew 15:18); Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23); Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble (Proverbs 21:23); The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool (Proverbs 10:18); Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Col. 4:6); So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire (James 3:5); Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29); If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless (James 1:26).
Again and again, the word of God tells us that our words are not just words.
Despite his foul mouth and admission to not needing forgiveness for anything he’s ever done, some major names in the evangelical world and many regular church goers still believe Trump is a good Christian man. They say he’s just a new believer and still has some growing to do. While we cannot see into the hearts of others, we CAN assess their words, which God tells us is a direct reflection of the heart. From this, we can reach some reasonable conclusions about the validity of one’s faith. Despite the glaringly ungodly behavior, Evangelical Trump supporters continue to justify his words in order to sustain the alignment of their party and their faith. Personally, I believe this mindset is partially responsible for the decline of both Christianity and the Republican party in this country.
One of the greatest things about this country are the freedoms that allow us to have differing opinions, yet still coexist peacefully. I have a great respect for democracy and I am constantly growing and learning as a result of speaking with those who have different view points and belief systems as me. If you support Trump based on his policies, or because you don’t like Clinton, or because you choose to be a party-line voter, I can respect that. Even though I will wholeheartedly disagree with you, I respect that as your choice and I respect that as a necessary part of our political system.
What I refuse to respect or tolerate is the continuous justification of his mouth as just words. His words are not okay. His words are not honoring to God. His words are not respectful to women, minorities, people of no/other faith, and so on. It has to stop. As Christians, we should lead the way by discontinuing our propensity to excuse it.