What Would God Say to Us in a State of the Union Address?

“You have so little love for each other.”

US President Donald Trump embraces US Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, after speaking during the State of the Union Address before a Joint Session of Congress at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 30, 2018.

By Michael Brown Published on February 1, 2018

After the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, I asked myself, “What if God Himself addressed our nation? What would He have to say?” As I reflected on this in the hours that followed, I heard a quiet, sad-sounding voice saying, “You have so little love for each other.” Could that be the message of the Lord to us?

It’s not just that we are deeply divided as a nation. It’s that we have so much animosity towards each other, so much hostility, so much anger.

Where is the redemptive heart that seeks to gather rather than scatter? Where is the attitude that says, “We’re not trying to minimize our differences, but can we at least be civil toward each other? Can we at least learn to live together as neighbors?”

Like many of you, I despise some of the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But do I despise them too? Am I happy to see them mocked — not for their policies but as people? Do I feel disdain when I see a picture of Hillary or replay the video of her collapsing with glee? Do I have negative feelings towards the children of Barack and Michelle Obama?

If so, where is the love that wants the best for others? Where is the love that seeks to treat others as it would be treated?

What about those of you who strongly oppose President Trump? Do you wish for his physical demise or even death? Do you hope the allegations of his mental instability are true? Do you despise his children (grandchildren) just because they’re related to him? If so, where is your love?

Internal Wars

We could all see the lack of love on the faces of the political leaders who sat glumly during the president’s speech, refusing to celebrate the well-being of other Americans because it was not to their political interest. What a sorry picture they painted, and how they hurt their own credibility in the process.

Black unemployment is down, but they can’t be happy because a Republican president is taking credit for it. Hispanic employment is up, yet they pout. Where is the love for their fellow-Americans?

Unfortunately, many of us watching showed no more love than these politicians, joining in their mockery on social media and ridiculing them in the unkindest terms.

We can stand unflinchingly for truth, speak uncompromisingly for justice, and work untiringly for moral change without hating or demeaning our ideological opponents.

I agree that their actions are offensive, and I’d be glad to see them voted out of office. But do I disdain them as something less than fellow-human beings, created in God’s image?

This lack of love is endemic in our society today. It’s as ingrained as our accents and as American as Apple Pie.

Think for a moment of the Black Lives Matter protesters. Many of them are full of hatred towards our police force, even calling for their murder. This is horrific and inexcusable. But how do some of us feel about them? With equal hatred! How, then, can these internal wars ever end?

Love Displayed

In 2012, the local police notified my home congregation that there was going to be a gay protest outside of our church that Sunday. I was out of town that day, but our folks were ready for the protesters, meeting them outside with refreshments and inviting them to join us in the service.

They politely declined our invitation and within 15 minutes left with an apology, saying, “You’re too nice to deserve a protest.”

The next day, the organizer of the protest called my radio show to apologize, saying, “Once we got there Sunday morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect love. I mean, it was fantastic.” How extraordinary.

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I accepted his apology but told him I felt he owed me none, since he thought we were a certain type of people, because of which they came to protest. “But,” I continued, “the real issue is this. I’m not changing my views and you’re not changing yours. So how can we live together as neighbors in the same city?”

He said that was his issue too, which led to us having dinner together, along with his partner and the pastor of my congregation.

Did we change each other’s views? Not in the least. Did we leave with a greater desire for civil dialogue? Absolutely.

Stand For Truth, Win With Love

Unfortunately, stories like this are the exception to the rule. All too often, our differences dictate our conduct and fuel our rhetoric. We snipe at each other, degrade each other, mock each other and ridicule each other. Whatever happened to “love your neighbor as yourself?”

Love does require speaking the truth, and love does not overlook injustice and evil. But love goes the extra mile. Love seeks the well-being of others. Love seeks to redeem enemies and not simply destroy them.

In the classic words of Paul,

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

The Bible repeatedly tells us that we will reap what we sow, both naturally and spiritually. So, before you speak, before you write, before you act, ask yourself what kind of seeds you are sowing. That’s what you will reap.

We can stand unflinchingly for truth, speak uncompromisingly for justice, and work untiringly for moral change without hating or demeaning our ideological opponents. And perhaps, with a little love, we might even win some of them over.

Could it be, then, that this is one of our greatest failings today, that we have so little love for each other? Might this be part of a divine speech to our nation?

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  • KC

    Well said

  • Kathy Riggins

    I wonder if you would feel so much love for Hitler if he stood in front of Jews and spewed lies about all the good things that he claimed to have done for them. Things that were in motion before he came along and tried to kill them… while trying to convince them about things he didn’t do for them. Just thinking out loud

    • Chip Crawford

      He never said anything about “feeling” love. Neither does God in his word. The verses he quoted dealt with “thinking.” Love is an action, not a feeling. If you determine to govern your thoughts with it, we are taught, the actions come easier. But we

    • NellieIrene

      I’m assuming your post is about the nonsense that the economic boom we are currently experiencing is because of policies that Obama put in place. Trouble is it didn’t happen under Obama for a reason. And Obama’s policies are the reason. He couldn’t even get GDP up to 3 percent in his entire presidency. He is the only President with that dubious distinction. His stimulus packages did nothing but waste taxpayer money and make business cronies of Obama rich. The boom wouldn’t have happened in the first year of Trump if Trump hadn’t reversed course and gone on a flurry of deregulation, lowering of corporate tax rates, gotten rid of the onerous penalties of the ACA. You know. Things that actually DO stimulate the economy and boost consumer confidence. He is the anti-Obama, picking the governments boot off the neck of the business sector and the taxpayer. Don’t believe me? Ask businesses. Business is good. And they aren’t praising Obama for their current situation.

  • Monica Atkins

    This is confirmation as to what the Lord has been dealing with me within my spirit. All of the ugliness that has been manifested throughout the years certainly demonstrates a lack of love for one another.

    However, I expect this display of unrighteousness from the world but from seasoned Christians, I’m saddened. Some of the worse behavior comes from church folks who say they “ love” the Lord yet their behavior/ character states otherwise.

    This lack of love speaks volumes in one’s level of maturity in Christ. The closer we get to him, the more we’ll display his attributes in our daily lives. I’m striving each day to show people the love of Christ within me irregardless of their belief & opinions. The change truly begins with me.

    • Andrew Mason

      Perhaps part of the difficulty is knowing how to respond in particular situations? Brown mentions going out to dinner with a homosexual activist and his partner for instance. I’m not sure I could make that choice. Where is the divide between connecting with someone, and supporting their lifestyle? Where is the divide between showing them why they’re wrong, and condemning and despising them? The boundaries aren’t always clear. I try to be polite and respectful, and mostly try to do the right thing, but as I say, not everything is clear. The sole time I’ve ever been exposed to that sort of situation was many years ago when I met up with a friend from high school for a meal out, then discovered she’d invited another friend along, then discovered said friend was her girlfriend. I was rather shocked but think I managed to maintain my composure. Would I handle things so well now? No clue. As I’ve grown older I think I’ve grown less tolerant of the depravities people embrace and more open to the notion that judgement is deserved. To be fair I think I apply this to myself too, but my perspective may be slightly skewed.

  • Chip Crawford

    This is the heart of the matter if you’re a Christian. We need this exhortation right now. I feel like saying “Oh me,” as the old line goes when convicting things are shared. The alternative is “Amen,” and I will say that too. Thinking about the scripture that says that in these last days, the love of many will grow cold. That is never to include God’s people, and we can be kept. It also says they will know you are Christians by your love. That’s what happened with you, your pastor and the protestors. I like what one has shared, that had we not been given the grace to live in this time, in this generation, we would be in another. God never told us to do anything he did not intend to grace us to do. It’s a very timely word, brother. Thinking of the Greek word “kairos,” very opportune. Thank you.

  • fiveHats

    He has already said what He would say. Read your Bible if you want a personalized answer to your questions. He would say love one another under the principles of agape love–His preferences, but He would also say repent of everything.

  • This is a wonderful article, beautifully written! I especially like the story of the protesters who couldn’t protest your at your church because you are “too nice.” I would to God this would be replicated throughout the country!

  • Hmmm…

    I see nice Senator Manchin being the one hugging the President in this photo, but good thing there. Wonderful article. Yes, this means me.

  • tz1

    We are both standing in a torrent of innocent blood from the aborted babies and being swept toward the gates of hell, and I’m doing everything I can to avoid drowning.

    Are you saying God is ignoring the 45 years of innocent blood?

    Would you be as similarly cordial to a “neo-Nazi” and talk to him and “agree to disagree” as you did with the Gay man and his partner? Should we be nice to Hitler and apologize to the survivors of those we hung at Nuremburg for “following orders” like we ignore the Pinnelas County Deputies guarding Terri Schiavo so she would die in the variant of the Auschwitz starvation bunker St. Maximillian Kolbe died in?

    Have you talked to any of the people at #UniteTheRight from Charlottesville, or are they all evil, hateful, and beyond whatever line you draw? And what of abortion which isn’t some mere arguable abomination but the shedding of innocent blood?

    I will add one more thing. If someone had a rifle and was shooting and killing innocent people, I would shoot him first and worry about spiritual things later. Gays, witches, pagans, atheists, even Satanists aren’t doing direct and immediate harm. While I can pray for Hillary or Obama, their damage, consider Bengazi and the horrible assassination of Quadaffi, involves this physical world and I can’t address that in the same way. Only God can see their hearts, but everyone with a brain can understand the real world results of their actions. The can decide to repent or not, but holding them accountable is required by Justice. The same way John Paul II treated his assassin – forgiving him but demanding justice.

  • Hyperion

    God does speak to us. However, this is the answer given, “They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, ‘We will crush them completely!’ They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land”.

  • Lee Phillips

    Ephesians 4:26, goes on to say, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. That doesn’t mean that it’s alright to be angry during daylight as long as we repent by nightfall. Rather, it is speaking of this righteous type of anger. We are never to let it rest. Don’t ever put it to bed, but keep yourself stirred up against the things of the devil.

    The key to distinguishing between a righteous anger and a carnal anger is to discern our motives and the object of our anger. Godly anger is directed at the devil with no consideration of self. If we are angry with people, it’s carnal (Eph. 6:12). And if our motivation is self-serving, then it’s wrong.

  • Lee Phillips

    “You have to compromise on values (understand, accept and tolerate sin) in order to make friends with people so you can lead them to the Lord.”–Satan, Senior Pastor of the Emergent Church

  • Cody

    The problem in this great country is the love of money and power drive people who might of been good people to do evil.

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