One thing I am continually appalled at is how many professing Christians I know seem to think the following line of thinking is OK:
“When I look at the people who dislike President Trump, that makes me like him all the more.”
I want us to get honest for a minute about what this sentence really means, and I think we can get there if we simply change the context.
Imagine that you, a Christian, have a 16-year old child. Despite your best efforts, this 16 year old of yours hated Christianity, hated the Bible, and hated the church with a passion. Their animosity toward the things of God breaks your heart on a daily basis. You pray continually for their repentance. And you cling to God in faith, trusting in His promises, despite all the temptation you feel to compromise for the sake of growing closer to your child.
Now imagine that one Sunday after church, a fellow member approaches you. As you talk, the conversation turns to your wayward child. Burden, pain, and desire fill your soul as you think about this person you love who has taken a wrong turn. But then, completely out of the blue, this fellow church member utters this: “You know, when I think about the fact that someone like your kid hates the gospel and hates the church so much, heh, it makes me love both even more!”
Question: What do you think this fellow church member has just said about your child? Have they said they are praying every day for their restoration? Or have they just admitted to you that their personal hatred for your child expresses itself in a kind of gleeful satisfaction that rejoices in their lostness, and congratulates itself for not being that kind of worthless person?
Could you carry on this conversation after such a remark? If right now you’re thinking, “No,” then you have sensed, possibly even beyond an intellectual level, what it means for a person to be so controlled by a sense of self-righteousness that they admit that people who disagree with them are useful only for validating it. Not only is it astonishingly illogical for a person to gain validation of their worldview from the kind of people who oppose it (because one can be an obnoxious person and still be right), it is profoundly inhumane. We wouldn’t, as this thought experiment demonstrates, want to hear people we love talked about in such a way. Why do we talk about our political opponents like that?
The answers to that question, I’m afraid, just get more uncomfortable.