What about THE Vote? What is a Christ follower to do?
This might be a devotional that pushes the "envelope" in terms of what many of you would regard as "spiritual encouragement." Even so, I'm going to state these points succinctly and NOT attempt to pontificate, lecture, cajole, or challenge anyone in a manner that would NOT be appropriate. I'm just going to write down for you some things to consider before you make your election decisions.
Here are some GENERAL principles that the bible shares in terms of what a Christ follower is to take seriously when it comes time to vote.
1. Both political parties go to "church." In other words, God is NOT a democrat or republican. God stands on BOTH sides of a political argument. Since God reveals and embodies TRUTH, we must say that EACH party represents some aspect of the "heart of God." There are parts of EACH platform that affirms what the bible says. SO, the bible takes NO side.
2. Both political parties go to "church." In other words, there are brothers and sisters in the faith that we all have who will vote along with you and whom will contradict what you feel is the "right" political choice. One of the things that I sincerely believe is that NO EARTHLY KINGDOM POWER is that which owed our allegiance. We are those who serve a KING and a KINGDOM…though we are part of this world, we acknowledge that JESUS IS LORD! So although there are consequences to every vote, Jesus will still be Lord. Jesus will still be calling us to loving each other and serving Him as we live out our lives in relationship with others. We are "related" to every Jesus follower who will vote…and despite our frequent political disagreements, we will all bow the knee to Jesus as well as be stuck with each other for eternity!
3. Political talk and news are out for ratings…in other words, media outlets (print, online, television, etc.) THRIVE on controversy, argument, and dissension. Personalities get wealthy turning people against each other and "demonizing" everyone who doesn't agree with what they consider to be the sole political stance that is correct. IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY to not take anyone at their word but to think, process our own information, be an investigator of the truth, and to not base our decisions on one particular ideology or political gossip. Remember, everyone has an opinion…it is difficult to be completely objective in anything political…know people's biases and make YOUR OWN DECISION AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT.
4. Those who argue over politics don't love their country more than others. They just love to argue more than others. Strife and quarreling are symptoms of of an immature faith walk (Proverbs 10:12; 2 Timothy 2:23-25; James 4:1) and are among the things the Lord "detests." We need to rise above the vitriol and learn to love our neighbors the way God commanded us. We need to love our atheist neighbor who wants to keep creationism out of schools; our Democrat neighbor who wants to make gay marriage and abortion legal; our Republican neighbor who celebrates death penalty statistics; and yes, even the presidential candidate from the other side. Makes you uncomfortable, doesn't it? It isn't always easy to be a follower of Jesus.
5. Scripture tells us to pray for our governing leaders (2 Timothy 2:1-4) and to respect those in authority (Romans 13:1-7). Translation: if we mock our governing leaders, the Holy Spirit is grieved. We should spend more time honoring our leaders and less time vilifying them. God commands us to pray for our leaders-for their wisdom, for their hearts and for them to be led by Him.
6. Don't be paranoid. The country is not going to be destroyed if your candidate loses. As 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Stand up and demonstrate what God has given you. America has functioned-albeit, at varying levels of success-for years. Ask God to bless our country NO MATTER WHAT! Oh, and by the way, I love what that great HYMN, "A Mighty Fortress" says because it communicates the TRUTH – God reigns NO matter what may come:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
the body they may kill; God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
7. Now on to some consistent guidance – let your VALUES guide your decision. Judge your candidate by their CHARACTER more than their public persona, or how their opponent projects them to be or how some TV commercial portrays them. It is actually nonsense to believe commercials because they are ALL exaggerated, ALL slanted, ALL over the top, and ALL most likely using a bit of the truth to falsely hammer an opponent. Like I said above, use your intelligence and God-given wisdom to discern how YOU understand your walk with Jesus and how THAT RELATIONSHIP guides and informs your decisions. Christ followers on the opposite end of the spectrum of any political decision are NOT enemies…just fellow travelers in this world who submit all of who we are and what we believe to the Lordship of Jesus.
So, that's it! I know I may have missed a few more things that could have been said but I stand here knowing that we are facing a time where all of us need to participate in the political process as faithfully and humbly as we can! May the Lord bless us and all who govern at this important time in history – remember, history is really HIS-Story?