Government and the necessary outgrowth of politics that surround it are a reality we all must…and need to live with in one form or the other. Someone said that if we all angels, we wouldn’t need government. But we are not all angels, nor are those who lead us.
I have visited countries that are led by socialists, I have been in a meeting in the headquarters of the Communist Party in Havana, I have driven through literal “kingdoms” led by sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and I have been in nations struggling to keep democratic leadership in place. Some nations I have seen have overthrown dictators, some were still under them, and others have never seen the inside of an election booth or experienced any semblance of participatory government such as we know in America….a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
As messy as this election season has become and as jaded as many, especially our younger elements, have become, we need to remind ourselves and others around us again of the amazing privilege we have been given to do what we are doing on November 8. While there are obviously elements of this campaign that are distorting and blurring the truth the election process itself has checks and balances that seek to ensure its integrity.
It’s a dangerous thing, I feel, to fail to exercise this incredible right we have. A good brother asked me recently, “is it a sin for a Christian not to vote?” Now if that is a question of “is there chapter and verse we can point to that says we have to do this?” then the answer is NO. The idea of democracy was not really spelled out in the Bible, and an ethic for living as a Christian in our kind of political reality was not addressed. Many things that are ethical issues are not. Certainly neglecting the vote is not a moral issue. Many have, for conscience sake, refrained from voting for candidates they felt were not best for our nation.
But there is more than simple morality at stake here. If two candidates were proposing ideological issues in their platforms that are in direct contradiction to the Word of God, would it be unethical or immoral to refuse to vote for either candidate? Of course not. And if both candidates in an election involving just two choices were proposing issues that are in conflict with the teaching of God’s Word, would it be unethical to refuse to vote for either? Again, we know the answer is no. Our system allows us an open ballot to vote for whom we think best.
The question then becomes, where will the Christian voice best be heard? Our absence from voting will be interpreted as apathy, not a stand for our conviction. To abstain from voting if you are able on this election day is a violation of our calling to be ‘salt and light’ in this period of history….it is a failure to be people who ‘seek the peace” of the city God has called us to live in, and a choice to walk away from our responsibility of Christian citizenship, as is spelled out in Romans 13:6-7. We must also remember that there are many issues and other candidates down ticket in this election that go beyond a presidential election. These candidates and issues will determine the values in America for years to come.
Again, it will not be an easy choice for some. The candidates before us have spelled out their value systems on the campaign trail and through the General Election debates. We must now pray much….and discern God’s direction as we enter the voting booth on November 8.
And may God guide us by His Spirit to the candidate He has appointed for this time in our history.
FOR MEDITATION: “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1)
FOR REFLECTION: Our destiny as Christians is not in the hands of an elected political official, but in God’s hands. “And the government will be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)