Christians, Here’s How You Should VoteMay 2, 2016
A bold statement? Well, this is not about whom you should support. But how to approach voting not just with our own opinions and perspectives– but with God’s.
We live in the real world so Jesus is not on the ballot. There is a field of candidates and in that field there may or may not be the type of candidate we want to support. This year, this fact seems to be particularly glaring. So how do we vote when the options are less than ideal?
Like us, every candidate for office is a fallen, flawed and fallible human being. Some are also repentant and redeemed people of faith. Some claim to be but the evidence from their life does not align with their self-identification. So, does there ever come a time when a Christian simply cannot vote for a candidate?
How Christians Should Vote
Last week, we had Dr. Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission with us on The Reconnect, and we talked about these questions. You can listen to the entire show here.
These are a few takeaways from our discussion, when considering for whom you will vote:
1.Recognize what voting is in our context. In a democratic republic, the people are the ultimate authority. With our vote, we are delegating authority to our leaders to enact justice. Voting is a responsibility we should not take lightly because our leaders wield this authority. Character matters, and we should consider, do we trust this person’s character to use this authority justly?
So pay attention to what that candidate is saying he or she will do with that authority. Now, we cannot predict the future or see into someone’s heart. There will be (and have been) situations when a candidate disappoints us or acts in a way contrary to what they promised. But we clearly cannot empower someone we know to be of bad character or who tells us they are going to use their authority in ways that are unjust.
2. Keep our priorities straight. Take the long-term view. As Christians, we are citizens of God’s Kingdom- which is not of this world nor limited by worldly power. We are not just concerned with the next four years or election cycle. We are thinking the next trillion years.
That also means acknowledging the people who disagree with us are not our enemies. We do not know how God could change or use someone in the future. Keep our focus on the gospel. We are ambassadors for Christ so engage with kindness. This is for everyone, not just those with a radio show or public platform. If you have a Facebook page, you have a platform.
3. There are times when candidates disqualify themselves from receiving our vote. Dr. Moore shared with us a few issues that would disqualify a candidate for him. These include failing to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn person, race-baiting or using racial bigotry for political ends, advocating the unjust use of American power such as torture or war crimes, and denying religious freedom for all people– not just those who believe like we do.
If all the candidates on the ballot are disqualified, Christians need to consider other options, such as conscientiously objecting with a write-in candidate.
Every Christian should vote. We are citizens of God’s eternal Kingdom, which will outlast any nation. And, the current state of politics my leave us wanting to throw up our hands in disgust. But I challenge you to consider voting as a way to seek the welfare of the city where you live and love your neighbors. For more on why every Christian should vote, read this article by Dan Darling: Three Reasons Why Every American Christian Should Vote.
So, as we move forward toward Election Day, how can we practically prepare ourselves to vote? Be actively praying and relying on the Holy Spirit to help you discern how to vote. Be wise about the choices and evaluate the character of the candidates. We need to do our due diligence– which means going beyond the advertisements and outside groups. Get as close to the original source as you can to learn what a candidate says and believes.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that our hope is not in the next election or the next President or the next political party. There is one Savior and He already secured our future. If we start putting more weight in this future, rather than the next 4-8 eight years, we won’t live in fear of what happens in the political sphere. Our King is forever on the Throne and we are promised His Kingdom never ends. Live and vote with that truth in mind.