WONDERFUL THINGS: Trump, the preacher and meekness

James Calderazzo
James Calderazzo

There was a kerfuffle (a word we don’t use often enough) a few weeks ago between a preacher and a politician. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, made some remarks, in print and on TV, critical of Donald Trump. Apparently Trump took notice, and the kerfuffle officially commenced. Trump took to Twitter and fired back: “Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!” Ouch.

Later that day Moore appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” As you might expect, Cooper saw the opportunity to elevate this kerfuffle into an all-out hullabaloo and so asked Moore to respond to Trump’s biting words. Here is where things get interesting. Would Moore respond with a witty insult? Maybe thump him with some Scripture? Or perhaps turn the tables and label Donald as the one who is the nasty guy with no heart?

Surprisingly Moore responded that Trump’s insult of him was one of the few things that he and the billionaire businessman actually agreed about. He went on and said, “I am a nasty guy with no heart. We sing worse things about ourselves in our hymns on Sunday mornings. We’re a wretch in need of God’s grace ... That’s the reason why I need forgiveness from God through Jesus Christ.”

This reminds me of a story I once heard about a missionary who was facing a great deal of unfair criticism. His supporters wanted him to fight back and defend himself, but he refused, saying, “What they are saying is not true. But if they really knew me they would be saying much worse things.”

Both Moore and this missionary are exhibiting the Biblical virtue called meekness. In the third beatitude Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” To be meek means that by God’s grace you have begun to see yourself as you really are. Before a holy God all of us are sinners, wretches, unrighteous, unholy, utterly broken, utterly bankrupt, utterly needy.

This may sound like a depressing place to be, but for the Christian it is not. As Moore said we recognize that we need the grace of a Savior if we are to be saved. Therefore we are not depressed or dreary in our lowliness, but we are astounded. We are amazed that God would send His own Son to rescue people like us — that we might be loved and accepted by the Triune God of the universe.

Ironically, then, it will not be the arrogant, wealthy, harsh people who get everything. Instead, the meek will inherit the earth. For it is the meek who are amazed at the grace of God and who will receive it now and forever.

James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at