Trump’s Non-Apology

Donald Trump has taken a rather unique approach to campaigning throughout his run for the presidency. He has been a no-holds-barred barroom brawler (the closest analogy I can find) who uses insults and innuendoes continuously. What has disturbed Republicans the most is that, even after officially getting the nomination, he has made Republicans his target as often, or more often, than Hillary Clinton.

Trump has never let up on his criticisms of those within the Republican party who oppose his candidacy, or who simply can’t bring themselves to hop on his bandwagon. He never seems to forget anything he considers a personal slight and directs his fire accordingly.

The hiring of a new “team” to conduct the rest of the campaign is supposed to signal a new direction:

Donzilla

However, the new head man, Steve Bannon, who runs the Breitbart site, is known to be someone with a personality much like Trump’s, so is this really going to make much of a difference?

Some observers, especially those who desperately want Trump to change his tone, think they see the ever-elusive pivot taking place. After all, in a speech last week, Trump apologized for his past comments. He’s a new man!

Well, let’s look at what Trump actually said:

Sometimes, in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that, and believe it or not I regret it.

I do regret it particularly where it may have caused personal pain.

Examine those words carefully. First, he puts his insulting comments in the context of “the heat of debate,” thereby providing an excuse for saying what he did. Then he simply says he chose the wrong words, as if those words don’t flow from a heart that gave birth to them. The emphasis is on the external, not the internal, but it’s the internal—the heart—out of which the mouth speaks. You can check that out; Jesus said it.

He uses the word “regret,” but again notice the context. He says, “believe it or not” with respect to his having regrets. Having regret over anything is not the real Donald Trump. It’s not the way he has lived his life. The wording indicates that.

We’re supposed to believe now that he has suddenly changed?

Then he goes on to say he particularly regrets saying the wrong thing “where it may have caused personal pain.” May have? Is there any doubt?

He ridiculed one political rival by saying her face is ugly. He called another one a child molester. He took on his strongest rival by insinuating he had hidden numerous adulterous affairs (through that organ of national probity, The National Inquirer, while openly boasting about his own numerous adulteries), by lambasting that same rival’s wife, and by linking the rival’s father to the JFK assassination. Now he has the temerity to say he “may” have caused personal pain?

He didn’t use the word “if,” but it’s the same thing. You know, that old “apology” of “if” I have offended you? That doesn’t really admit to anything. It puts the onus instead on the person who was offended. Oh, that bothered you? So sorry.

You also might notice that he didn’t give any examples of using the wrong words. He didn’t publicly express wrongdoing for anything in particular. It was all rather vague, intended to cover a multitude of sins without having to acknowledge any specifically.

This was not a real apology. The problem is that many fall for it as if it’s the real thing.

In that same speech, Trump went on to say, “I will never lie to you.” So he’s now going to begin telling the truth? He also said that his real problem is that he can be “too honest.” Yes, now there’s a real fault.

That’s similar to someone being interviewed for a job, and when asked what faults one might have, the fallback is always something like “well, I probably work too hard.”

This is all so phony. Trump is Trump, and unless there is a genuine conversion based on Biblical truth, we will not see any change.

Trump Unfiltered

Without a true change of heart, he will continue to be his own worst enemy:

Let Trump

Real sorrow for one’s words and actions is grounded on an understanding of repentance. The apostle Paul had written to the Corinthian church about some of the sins they had allowed. They responded properly to his admonition. When he wrote his second letter to them, he put it this way:

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Judas Iscariot was sorrowful over what he did in his betrayal of Jesus. Peter was sorrowful over his own betrayal of Jesus. Judas committed suicide; Peter repented. Only the second example is true Godly sorrow.

If I see genuine repentance in Donald Trump, I will take back everything I have written in this post today. But until then, I stand by this analysis.

The Fine Art of Being Sorry

We’re very good at being sorry. We’re not so good at being repentant.

Wait a minute—aren’t those the same? Not necessarily.

You can be “sorry” for a lot of things, and it’s all too easy to make your “I’m sorry” statement sound petulant or forced, as if you don’t really mean it. Genuine repentance takes stock of one’s heart and actions, acknowledges when there is sin, and does more than a simple “I’m sorry” in response. Repentance leads to a changed heart and different actions.

Politicians aren’t the only people who excel in the “being sorry” category, but they stand out because they are more prominent. At the moment, the most prominent of them all in this category is Hillary Clinton.

She seems shell-shocked that she actually is being held accountable for her actions—specifically, her use of a private server for all her e-mails while she was secretary of state.

Her claim that she never had any classified information pass through that server has proved laughable. Even the State Department, which has every reason to cover for her (and does so whenever it can) has made it clear that many of those e-mails contained classified information.

Of course, Hillary says she was not aware of the nature of some of those e-mails. If that were true, why was she in this most sensitive cabinet post in the first place? Someone who can’t tell the difference between classified and unclassified information is unqualified for that job.

Can't Tell

I don’t buy her explanation at all. She knows what is classified. She simply lied.

When caught in a lie, especially one as egregious as this one, only a true repentance can make things right. Yet what do we get? One tortured semi-apology after another, none of which gets to the heart of the matter, and some of which seem to cast blame on others instead:

Hillary Apology

It’s all so superficial and unreal that even those who want to support her are shaking their heads. Meanwhile, she thinks she has handled it well.

Happy Now

If she ever were to agree to a polygraph, what would it reveal?

Polygraph

By the way, it’s easy to poke fun at those in high places for their hypocrisy and lack of remorse, but the Lord also wants each of us to put ourselves under His spotlight. Do we resort to the “I’m sorry” routine also? Do we fall back on grudging apologies that are no apologies at all?

True repentance is needed not only at the highest levels of government but in our own lives as well. A national repentance—from the bottom up, perhaps—may be our only hope.