What is an idol? Something either highly revered or worshiped.
When we think of idols, often we think of the Old Testament. But idols are hardly lost to the distant past. There are many human made idols that are among us these days.
President Trump is an idol for some. I recently saw a video of several Evangelical Christian women who were interviewed about their thoughts about Trump. These were solid Trump supporters. They were asked about the controversy over the hush money allegedly paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. They talked about grace and everyone getting a second chance. They talked about how he changed once in office because he handed his life over to Christ. They talked about excusing his behavior and tone and name calling because he was supporting “Christian” policies. The line that sums it up came from the reporter asking this question – “So, he can’t do any wrong then, can he?” The answer was to agree with this idea.
President Obama was an idol for others. Remember all the statements about Obama being a type of Messiah figure? Remember how blind supporters of his were so moved by his speeches? Remember how pundits who were infatuated with him talked about how they got a tingle in their spine that went down their leg by just being in his presence? I imagine that if the same reporter asked a group of die-hard Obama supporters if the man could do no wrong, they would have to agree with that statement.
These are just men. Flawed human beings. Broken in many different ways. They make mistakes and sometimes worse – do things that cause problems for people, stoke anger and divisiveness, and do things that many others see as wrong. But then again, so do all of us. They aren’t special in that regard. They just happen to be on a bigger stage where their actions and words impact more people than anyone else – for a time. And then their time is done and someone new steps in. A new idol that still others will worship.
And it is all folly. The idea of worshipping a person – to the point where you can see no fault ever in anything the person does or says – is misguided. It’s sinful. We aren’t supposed to live like this.
There is only one who we worship – God. When we put someone or something at the level in which they guide our thoughts, beliefs, and daily actions, then we being idolatrous. We have confused the temporal with the eternal. We have traded in faith from God for table scraps from idols. We have traded in holy daily living for anger, division, fear, and mistrust. And when we follow this path, we should not be surprised that our human-made systems are broken. Our systems are made up of human beings. We are broken.
This is not the time for idols. Let us put them aside. Instead of giving our daily attention to the idols we make in our own image, let us listen to God’s calling for our lives. Instead of listening to the daily talking points of our partisan loyalties, let us hear and live out the teachings of God. Instead of swearing allegiance to and making excuses for the actions of our idols, let us respond in trust to the call of Christ to pick up our cross and follow him, to go and teach all that he taught, to live out the Sermon on the Mount.