Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper– Jeremiah 29:7 NIV
Back in the dark ages before March 2020 I genuinely loved politics, elections and pretty much everything associated with the election process. I would eagerly await the presidential elections every four years the way Linus would await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin every Halloween Eve. I loved learning about each of the candidates and watching as the field narrowed through the primary process. I relished watching the candidates duke it out (metaphorically speaking) during the debates. I enjoyed anticipating the results on election night to such an extent that this avowed morning person would cheerfully stay up into the wee hours of the night just to learn the results.
That ship has officially sailed.
Over the course of the last year the realm of politics has become so vile, toxic and obnoxious that for the first time in my adult life I have found myself wishing the whole stupid thing would just be over all ready. I have literally considered finding a cave out of range of wi-fi to hide in until after the election is over.
Insert sad face here.
Unfortunately, God does not allow His people the luxury of hiding from difficult or unpleasant situations. Rather, Christians are commanded to take on the challenges of life directly with courage and confidence that God is both good and ultimately in control of every situation (Joshua 1:9, 1st Timothy 6:12, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Isaiah 46:10). It is not my business (or anyone else’s) to tell people who they should or should not vote for. It is the responsibility of individuals to research candidates and decide for themselves who is the best man or woman for the job.
I am deeply convicted Christians should view the whole issue of voting differently from our non-Christian counterparts. With only a few short weeks left we should see our vote as an opportunity to make a difference and bless the lives of both present and future generations. Voting is a task that should be stewarded prudently and prayerfully especially in a year where so much is at stake. In that vein following are three do’s and two don’t of voting.
Leverage your vote for the Kingdom of God-
As Christ’s ambassadors in the world (2nd Corinthians 5:20), Christians should always attempt to leverage all of our rights for the good of the Kingdom. This includes the right to vote. Christians should vote for the candidates and platforms that value family, believe in the free exercise of religion and support people of faith as they live out their religious convictions in a peaceful manner (1st Timothy 2:2). Leveraging a vote for the Kingdom also means choosing the candidate with a proven track-record of protecting people of faith from governmental persecution.
Vote with the future in mind-
Christians are called to consider not just their own situation but also the health and welfare of generations of people they will never know (Joshua 22:27, Psalm 22:30). This means voting for the people and platforms that believe life should be protected at every stage. Believers should support the candidates who promise to enact and enforce laws that permit innocent people to live, work and learn in peace. Perhaps most importantly, it means voting for those who care about issues of justice. Men and women who will do their best to see the guilty punished and the innocent defended within the legal system (Exodus 23:6-8, Proverbs 17:15, Proverbs 18:5, Proverbs 24:24).
Vote for platforms not just people-
The platform of a political party reveals a great deal about both the party and the politicians who sign on to the platform. Party platforms tell us the values each party holds to and the agenda candidates will be pressured to pursue. Christians should carefully read the platforms of both political parties and compare those platforms to what the Bible has to say about issues. It is critical we remember that no matter how neutral or reasonable a candidate may appear to be during election season; ultimately, that candidate will feel pressure from party leadership to support the values and policies their party advocates.
Now some don’ts:
Don’t vote only for your own interests-
No one in their right mind wants to pay higher taxes and a Christian should never waste their vote on a candidate with a proven track record of wasting or misusing taxpayer funds. However, Christians should vote with more than just their tax bracket in mind. Christians should look at candidates holistically and choose the man or woman who will do the most good for the most people. Period.
Don’t vote with your feelings-
Seriously. Just. Don’t. Voting is not about how warm, squishy and happy a candidate makes you feel when they speak. It’s about who can actually get the job done and make a difference. For that reason alone, voters should be wary of any candidate who makes appeals based on emotion rather than facts or concrete plans for the future.
PRAY. We need this year more than ever.