Max Lucado talks Trump, how Christmas can help the country

National best-selling author Max Lucado, who earlier this year wrote a viral blog post questioning Donald Trump’s decency, says he is praying for the president-elect, especially because his success translates to the country’s success.
Lucado, who will be in Murfreesboro on Tuesday promoting his new Christmas book, “Because of Bethlehem: Love is Born, Hope is Here,” spoke with The Tennessean earlier this month about Trump, the post-election division in the country and how the Christmas season can help. His appearance is 6:30-7:30 p.m. at LifeWay Christian Store on Old Fort Parkway.
How have your views changed on Trump since you wrote the “Decency for President” post in February?
I’m a firm believer in God’s sovereignty, and there’s a passage in the Bible that I read and turn to a lot in times like this. It’s Proverbs 21:1: The heart of the king is in the hand of God. So I think God can use any ruler to accomplish his purpose. I’m prayerful. I think that’s where I am right now. I’m not anxious. I’m not troubled. I’m peaceful. If I’m troubled about anything it’s the kind of fragile nature of our society. We’re really at odds with each other, but I’m hopeful that with time that this will settle down and we’ll be more and more at peace.

Your post focused on Trump’s words and actions. Do you still have concerns about his decency?
I don’t know how to interpret them. I’ve got many, many good friends who found it very easy to look past that and to say, “Yeah, that just doesn’t bother me.” I wish I could say that. I don’t know how to interpret that. I’m not accustomed to seeing that in that high profile of a leader. I can’t say that he’s said or done anything that causes me to come to peace with that. I feel like I did what I was supposed to do, and I’ve prayed and the whole country has voted. So I think it’s time for us to pray and to give him every opportunity to succeed.
What is your advice for Trump?
I admire many of the people whose names have been suggested to serve with him. I’ve never met Vice President-elect Mike Pence. I can’t speak from personal history, but boy, he sure is an impressive guy. The more quality, capable men and women of character he can put on his team the better. I’ve seen that as a common theme among good leaders, whether in a company or a church. You try to hire somebody who’s more qualified than you are and set them free to do their job, and I think that’s a good rule of thumb for leadership.
What does the country need to hear right now to heal and move forward?
I think that a common mistake that countries make is that we expect that a leader will solve all of our problems or a leader will create all of our problems. We assume too much. Maybe it would be good for us to back away and say, OK, we have a system of checks and balances in our government. Certainly the president has remarkable power, but it’s not unlimited power. So let’s trust that the system is good. But even more let’s trust that our God is on our throne and that he will protect and oversee the country. Let’s pray. My prayer is that our president-elect will have the administrative skills of Joseph, the vision of Daniel and the wisdom of Solomon.
How can the Christmas season help the country’s post-election angst?
I think we really need Christmas this year. Christmas has a way of bringing the good, better part of humanity out of us. I think the reason is we tend to become givers at Christmas. Giving is just good for us. It flushes us. Politics has a way of bringing the tackiness out of us and causing us to take this side or that. Christmas says, “We believe there is somebody greater that is running the world.” For Christians, we really have opportunity to take hope in Christmas because it celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, whom we Christians believe to be God on earth. I know things are tough and fragile now, but God can speak into our world as well. That’s really the promise of Bethlehem.

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