After much thinking I have now decided that because Trump is my neighbor, and I am called to love my neighbor, I cannot vote for him for his own good. Although it is clear to me that Trump is a sinner, I fear I may be a worst sinner, and since I cannot know for sure who is a greater sinner, I must take the safe route and assume I am. Therefore, I cannot vote for Trump, because if I am a worse sinner than he is, my vote will taint him, and love cannot have that. Surely bad company corrupts good morals, and if I am the bad company, Trump will be corrupted. I cannot vote for Trump, because my vote will add guilt to him.
To prove my conclusion, consider this example. I am running for president and in a press conference I pull out a letter from the President of North Korea saying he is voting for me, and believes I should be president. Would that vote from the PNK taint me? It sure seems like it right?
Now, I do have a slight problem with my new view, and I hope you can help me think it through. A vote for someone, while often based on emotion, is really a cold, logical, calculated thing, and it seems to me that cold, logical, calculated things do not share the same connecting relationship with things that close, intimate, loving relationships do. For example, would I or Trump be tainted more by a voting relationship with Trump than a have-Trump-over-for-dinner-every-Saturday relationship? It seems to me the dinner relationship would bind us much more in any type of guilt-by-association connection than the voting one. So here is the problem, if Trump or I are tainted by a voting relationship, then was Jesus tainted by his dinner relationship with known prostitutes, drunks, thieves, traitors, etc.? The Pharisees thought Jesus was guilty of sin by having such close relationships with these people, that it must have meant He approved of their sin, to be so intimate with them, and thus made him a sinner.
Here is my problem. If my logic is true that Trump would be tainted by my vote, or its logical kin, I by voting for him. Then the Pharisees were right, and Jesus, having a closer, more intimate relationship with sinners, than a voting relationship, must have been tainted by those sinners! Surely Jesus took the sins of those sinners upon Himself.
Well actually He did, but not in that relationship. A dinner or voting relationship is not the type that essentially associates one with the other person in a way that taints them, because such relationships can be based on multiple reasons and not necessarily ones that transfer any approval or guilt through relationship. The Pharisees were wrong, and everyone who read the passages on “bad company corrupts good morals” and thought it essentially always corrupts, was wrong too, or else we have to say that Jesus sinned and approved of sin by eating with sinners.
I am no Biblical scholar, but the passages that teach the “bad company corrupts” cannot mean that it does so in every simple relationship, as Jesus proves to us. Rather it must be concerned with how that relationship is, not how it looks. Surely, as Jesus demonstrates, one can be in a relationship of love with a sinner, and not approve of their sin, nor be tainted or corrupted by their sin, because one doesn’t place the sinner in a position of advice or authority in one’s life. That is, bad company will only corrupt in a certain type of relationship. Likewise, wouldn’t it be fair to say that a voting relationship, which is inherently less intimate than a friendship, and Jesus was called a friend of sinners, doesn’t by default mean either party is tainted?
Couldn’t the PNK’s vote for me be more about him not liking my opponent more than liking me? He may not know what I stand for, but he may know what the other one does, and that scares him more, so he is voting for me. Would that reasoning taint him or taint me? Are we to believe that there is a “guilty by association” ethic that is universal irrespective of relationship and reason? Shouldn’t we consider the motive for the vote and reasoning behind it more than simply focusing on the act of voting?
Now you see my dilemma, I must either believe that Trump is tainted by my vote and Jesus was tainted by sinners, or Jesus wasn’t tainted by sinners, and therefore Trump isn’t necessarily tainted by my vote, nor me by voting for him. Since it would be wrong for me to claim Jesus sinned, then I must change back my mind to believing that it is ok for both Trump and I, if I vote for him.
Now the really good news is that Jesus really was tainted by sinners, He took their sin upon Himself, and became sin for them and gave them His righteousness, but He didn’t do it in a meal, He did it on the cross. Jesus was willing to get dirty and sinful for sinners. On the cross Jesus took sinners sin into Himself and was made sin, and put His righteousness onto those sinners and made them good. It wasn’t a meal that saved us, it was a cross. Thanks be to God!