Earlier on Monday, October 10, Vice Presidential candidate, Mike Pence, spoke at a Rally in Charlotte, North Carolina. The crowd was enthusiastic, cheers nearly drowning out his initial comments. And his words would have tremendous import after the events and stunning news of the weekend.
Evangelicals across the nation were shocked by the release of a decade-old video Friday that featured Donald Trump saying some heinous things about kissing and grabbing women’s “female parts.” Of course there was a collective sinking feeling, a visceral reaction to the crudeness, which is absolutely condemned in the Bible.
But Trump quickly filmed a video, stating his shame and remorse, calling it wrong and promising to do better in the future.
Reflecting on the video, and then considering where Trump was 11 years ago — a wealthy, crass New Yorker who loved to make money and loved women — I began to breath a little easier. As a 100% conservative, Evangelical woman, Trump’s words on the old video were an anathema to me; his words on the second video gave me hope.
Hope that Trump was truly shamed by his careless and vulgar words. Hope that his heart and mind are changing. Hope that as a nation we can be reminded that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness, of God’s magnanimous mercy and grace.
Mike Pence immediately issued a statement:
My statement below: pic.twitter.com/92VYEAxIcl
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 8, 2016
Pence was quiet for about 48 hours: the common knowledge informing that he and his beloved wife, Karen, were in prayer over the matter. Mike surfaced to congratulate Donald Trump on his win in the Second Presidential Debate Sunday night (10/9/2016):
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 10, 2016
Sunday morning found me greeting dozens of folks at my church in the Portland metro area: we are a large (4K+ and growing), non-denominational, Bible-teaching, non-PC, very conservative (in every sense) church. I greet at the door closest to the senior parking, and so had a good sampling of elderly, staunch conservative Christians. The consensus was 100% unanimous — though every person condemned Trump’s earlier words, they believed he was contrite and believe each of us are sinners who should be thankful OUR thoughts and words are not public fodder.
Then came the today’s townhall held at [email protected] in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mike Pence is a class act. He is an Evangelical who walks the talk, not an Evangelical In Name Only. And Pence knew he had to address the wholly inappropriate old Trump comments head on: he had to repudiate the words in no uncertain terms, and he did.
But what came next made me smile and cheer…his words were the apologetic Christians everywhere should have when sin is found out, then repented of. He began:
I’m a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order. And it’s an honor to be with all of you today. It truly is.
Before we get started though, let me encourage you in that vein. And to remember our neighbors and friends. Fayetteville and Lumberton, and all across Eastern North Carolina. I want to know the nation, the nation is remembering North Carolina, your good governor, Pat McCrory. Thank-you so much for the way that he and all of you have responded to Hurricane Matthew — it has been truly inspiring.
But I have to tell you as I come before you today…it’s been an interesting few days.
Okay…folks everywhere sat up, holding their breath for what was coming:
But I gotta tell you. I joined this campaign in a heartbeat, because you have nominated a man for president who never quits, who never backs down. He is a fighter. He is a winner. And we will make America great again when we make Donald Trump the 45th President of the United States of America.
Now Donald Trump, I truly believe, you saw it last night on that debate stage, he literally embodies the spirit of America: strong, freedom-loving, independent, optimistic, and willing to fight every day for what he believes in and what makes this nation great. You saw that on the stage last night.
Alright. I agree. Now what would Pence say about the offensive words?
You know it takes a big man to know when he’s wrong, and to admit it, and to have the humility to apologize, and be transparent and be vulnerable with people. And Donald Trump showed last night that he’s a big man. And I was on television this morning on MSNBC…uh, I think it was that one, I was on a few.
Somebody asked me about my faith. They asked me about the fact that I say that I’m a Christian and in the wake of the last few days what I make of everything. And I tell you, I welcomed the opportunity. Other than that woman standing next to me, my wonderful wife, Karen, the most important decision in my life was when I made a decision for Christ in 1978. It’s made all the difference.
And I was happy to explain on that television program that I’m a Believer, and my faith informs me that we’re to hold up a godly standard. And we’re to aspire to live godly lives. But it also informs me that we all fall short, we all fall short of the glory of God. That there’s no one righteous, other than the One.
You know, as I said last weekend. I don’t condone what was said and I spoke out against it.
But the other part of my faith is I believe in grace, I’ve received it, I believe in it. I believe in forgiveness. And we’re call to forgive as we have been forgiven.
And last night my running mate, he showed the American people what’s in his heart. He showed humility to the American people. And then he fought back and turned the focus to the choice that we face and I’m proud to stand with Donald Trump.
Mike Pence referred to Paul’s words in Ephesians:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
And he referred to words of Romans 3:10, words I memorized as a 10 year old:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.
The shock should not be that Donald Trump, as an unregenerate sinner, said something a sinner might say. Sinners say sinful things. Fact.
The shock should be that any of us saved people — saved by grace and grace alone, through faith and faith alone — are surprised by the off-color words and hesitant to forgive a man who bears the national shame and publicly apologizes.
This election is a binary election: both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are imperfect sinners. But Donald Trump, with his words of remorse and apology, both on the response video and at the debate, owned up to his wrongful words.
Now we’ll see if Christians across America truly believe the words written in the Bible.
As for me? I’m willing to side with Mike Pence and give Donald Trump credit for acknowledging his shameful words and asking forgiveness.
And if Christendom in America chooses to forgive Trump, and pray fervently for America, for Trump and Mike Pence…we just may have a chance to right America’s course and recapture her light of hope for all the world to see.
First published at SavingOurFuture.com