A popular rhetorical tool among Christians, especially when pondering the moral and ethical questions of our day, is to ask “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) or “What Would Jesus Say” (WWJS)? And while the exercise has been somewhat diluted by the proliferation of WWJD and WWJS bumper stickers, pendants, and wrist bands, it nonetheless still has value for Christians and other people of good will seeking to discern the voice of Jesus amidst the many loud voices shouting for our attention these days.
One such voice is that of Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s voice scares me. It scares me a great deal. And when I am scared, I seek out the voice of Jesus who so often tells us to “be not afraid!” What would Jesus say if he was engaged in a conversation with Donald Trump. There is nothing innovative or creative about the conversation – I simply took some of Donald Trump’s most public and controversial statements and juxtaposed them with the words of Jesus as recounted in the Gospels. It is my personal attempt, after praying and reflecting on the Gospels, to answer the question, “What would Jesus say?”
Donald Trump: “My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy! I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy.”
Jesus Christ: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
Donald Trump: “The beauty of me is that I am very rich.”
Jesus Christ: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions. If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Donald Trump: "The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself. When they say they don't care about their lives, you have to take out their families."
Jesus Christ: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father. . .”
Donald Trump: "I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There's a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we're not allowed punch back anymore. . .I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell ya."
Jesus Christ: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.”
Donald Trump: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
Jesus Christ: “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Donald Trump: “My whole life is about winning.”
Jesus Christ: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Donald Trump: "I'm not sure I have ever asked God's forgiveness. I don't bring God into that picture."
Jesus Christ: “But I tell you, if you do not repent you will all perish as they did! Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Donald Trump: "Women: You have to treat them like shit."
Jesus Christ: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”
Donald Trump: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
Jesus Christ: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.”
Donald Trump: "We need a leader that wrote The Art of the Deal."
Jesus Christ: “For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
Donald Trump: "I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.”
Jesus Christ: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Psalm 46 reminds us to “Be still and know that I am God!” Too often, the loudest voices around us disrupt the stillness that is so necessary for us to hear the voice of God. Too often the voice of Jesus Christ is drowned beneath the voices of hatred, and fear, and bigotry, and intolerance - voices that seduce us with easy solutions to complex problems. During those moments, let us stop and ask ourselves, “Whose voice are you listening to?”