Thy word I have hid in my heart
That I might not sin against thee
– Psalm 119:11
The 2020 Presidential Election is just days away and the heart of America has been hardened. The rhetoric is that a vote for Trump is a vote for America. There are many Christians who believe that Trump is God’s chosen one to lead the country. I thought Jesus Christ was? As a Westernized Christian, I find it troubling, but not surprising, that there are many who profess Christ, but have begun to idolize this current President.
The Bible is a relevant tool. We can use it to understand the ways Christ-professing Christian’s of today have had their hearts hardened. The stories of Kings and the early Israelites, who either turned their attention to idols or twisted the Word of God and did not give their heart to God, is what we are seeing in modern Christians. It is a tale as old as time; just one I had hoped to never actually see.
The heart is a gentle and delicate organ: it weighs no more than 12 ounces. The heart is a four chamber organ that has its own internal system and operates based on the environment and the energy in which it lives. You have probably heard it said in different ways, but the condition of the heart matters. For those who have attended a church service or two, you have heard the preacher sermonize about the heart as a guide or as a determinant of the condition of one’s relationships. The heart is the thermostat for most believers. Though religious beliefs differ, mentions of the heart can be found in various religious and spiritual narratives.
As Christians, the reason we even follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are born out of our love and obedience to God, which are characteristics that govern our heart. John 3:16 reminds us “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,” and we are to believe in HIM. It is saddening to see that the heart of America has become hardened to Jesus’ teachings. Instead of being kind to the stranger, or seeking justice and caring for the poor, they have put their support into Trump as the fulfillment of the messianic promise to protect White America.
Some might say it is when schools stopped allowing prayer, that the heart of America began to harden. Some might even say it was the way the land was overtaken by European and Spanish colonizers; or the implementation of human trafficking called slavery, that the heart of America began to harden. I believe all of these instances and our failure to acknowledge these atrocities has led to the hardening of America’s heart. These small infections of evil led to the disease and to the weakening of the heart’s system. It is clear that whatever has caused the heart of society and the American Christian to become diseased has set in deep.
This delicate organ has been fighting against the constant changes to its environment. The heart pumps blood to the organs of the body and America’s heart has been working overtime to pump out toxins. These toxins range in direct hate speech and physical violence to microaggressive statements on social issues. To read the comments of Christians who said the Presbyterian Church’s (USA) stance on Breonna Taylor’s murder was just the reason that they needed to leave the denomination. This refusal to stand in solidarity with the black community was another sad diagnosis that the heart of the American Christian is ill. Though those who left the PC(USA) would argue that they still believe in Christ and the living God, it is difficult for me to understand which God and Christ they are following.
What denomination would preach that harm done to another person is right in God’s eyes? Where are they going where they will not hear the preacher tell them to love their neighbor? Such congregations that teach that neighbor and protection is reduced to a particular skin type or character attributes is not following the God of the Holy Bible. The reasons mostly White Evangelicals and Latin/Hispanic Catholics support the current President is antithetical to the very words Christ proclaimed. Of course in this election most of the support for Trump is based on economics. Again, I argue that throwing one’s faith into a human instead of relying on God is not sound biblical practice.
If we trust in God, which we state even on our currency, then it is not Trump who will bring provision to our economy, but God will. I am not saying that Biden will be better as a leader, but I do know that the character and teaching of Christ is more evident in the way he speaks. I am not advocating for man, I am pleading for us to return our hearts to God. Many of us have already cast our votes in this election. Though we cannot change our vote, there is still time for us to pray for repentance. If our vote was cast with anger and hatred in our hearts, may we ask God to heal our heart. If our vote was cast with the hopes that oppressive policies that deny equal rights to others will be legislated, then there is still time for us to pray that God forgives the maliciousness in our heart. We cannot change our vote, but we can ask God to soften the hearts of the final decision makers and change our evil intentions to good.
There are so many stories in the Bible about the reasons and ways that God hardened the hearts of kings, countries and even God’s own believers. As Christians we must learn from these narratives and even repent from our own past atrocities. We know that as long as humanity remains, the heart is vulnerable to become hardened. We have a chance in this generation to save ourselves from the sadness and pain of being exiled from God. If we do not heal our hearts we will experience an even worse outcome than the Israelites and early believers of Christ. If it is not God’s word that is within our hearts, if we cling to the word of man and not the Word of God, then we have sinned and fallen from God’s grace.
Loving God, you created the world and all that is in it and called it “good”.
You scattered us across the planet and have brought us from a mighty long way.
Help us to keep our hearts and minds on you and the teachings you have given us through your son Jesus Christ.
When we want to turn our interest towards the ways of the world, remind us
that without you there would be no world.
When we want to turn our eyes away from the pain and hurt others are experiencing,
remind us that when we bless and help others the blessings will return unto us.
Heal our hearts, O God.
Turn our evil ways into holy Christ-like ways.
Forgive us for turning our backs on you.
As we prepare to elect a President, may we remember that you are our true provider.
In the name of the one who loved and died for us, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.
 Lewis, Tanya. “Human Heart: Anatomy, Function & Facts”
https://www.livescience.com/34655-human-heart.html Accessed 10/12/2020
Melva Lowry is a candidate for ordination in the PC(USA). She’s a ruling elder in the Greater Atlanta Presbytery at Rice Memorial. Mel holds 3 Masters from 2 PCUSA affiliated seminaries. She recently served as one of the Hands and Feet Fellows for the 224th General Assembly.