Recently I have heard several people cite the following dictum in regard to the current presidential election: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This citation is variously attributed to Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill. It was once cited by President Kennedy.
In regard to the current election I am told that if I do not vote for Donald Trump that I will be helping the cause of evil, because if good people do nothing, evil will win.
This is a nice quote and certainly has some truth in it, but we should not confuse it with something from scripture. In fact, scripture teaches us that sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.
First, consider Israel’s rescue from Egypt. When they were in the wilderness and being pursued by the Egyptians, there were options before them. They could have surrendered and returned to Egypt. They could have tried to fight the Egyptian army (and likely would have been slaughtered). But here is what Moses said. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” (Ex. 14:13).
What were they told to do? Nothing!
Or consider the time that Assyria surrounded the city of Jerusalem. The Assyrians had already conquered Israel and now taken everything in Judah except Jerusalem. The Assyrian leader stood before the city and said,
“Tell Hezekiah: ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours? You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me? Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.”
When the commander was asked to speak in Aramaic rather than Hebrew he said, “Was it only to your master and you that my master sent me to say these things, and not to the people sitting on the wall—who, like you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?” (2 Kings 18:19-26).
What were Hezekiah’s options? He could surrender. He could hope that Egypt would come and help. He could try and fight. But he consulted Isaiah who told him to not fear, but to wait on God to handle the matter (2 Kings 19:5-7). So, despite the great fears and pressure from his own people within the walls, Hezekiah did nothing. Here is the result.
“That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!” (2 Kings 19:35).
Sometimes good people do nothing and it is the right decision.
In regard to the current political situation, I am told that I must support a man who openly claims to be a Christian but repeatedly calls people losers, stupid, and dummy, and makes fun of women on their menstrual cycle and people with disabilities. He also makes fun of the way people look (just ask Carly Fiorina and Rosie O’Donnell). He argues for banning all people from a particular religious group from entering the country because a minority of those people are terrorists. He tells us that people from Mexico are rapists.
There are other reasons to dislike Mr. Trump, but I have tried to stick with those that relate to the Christian faith since he openly claims to be a Christian.
Since evangelical Christians have greatly supported Donald Trump, we should ask what message we are sending to the growing number of non-Christians in our country? I think the message is something like this: “We will put up with any behavior from a Christian as long as he can defeat Hillary Clinton.”
In other words, we will gladly get in bed with sin in hopes of defeating sin.
James Dobson backs Trump claiming that he is a baby Christian. Since the apostle Paul said that it is not wise to have a baby Christian as a leader in the church (1 Tim. 2:6), I’m not sure why Dr. Dobson would want him as a leader of our country.
Because of those things (as well as some other things that have nothing to do with the Christian faith), I will not vote for Donald Trump. Because of that some are citing the above quote to me about letting evil win. But as I have pointed out, sometimes the best thing to do for good to win is to do nothing. To do something (in this case, vote for Donald Trump) seems to me like getting in bed with the devil to beat the devil.
I am not trying to get you to refrain from voting for Trump. I am only raising one simple question: How far are you willing to compromise your faith in order to beat the opposition? (BTW, this question applies equally to Clinton supporters)