With the midterm elections looming, we are bombarded by television ads, political mailings, and social media diatribe. How should Christians be involved in the election process yet stay true to our biblical principles? How can we can vote like Christians?
1. Vote with gratitude.
The freedom to express our political opinions is not to be taken lightly. We have the opportunity to drive to our polling place and choose the candidates we want to represent us. No scary militia standing guard. No guns allowed. No dictatorial leaders telling us how we must vote.
We have the option to vote within our chosen party or without. We can choose to vote before November 6 or on that particular day. Our votes are confidential, so we have no fear of reprisal or persecution.
Every time an election is possible in my district, I vote. Even for the lesser known possibilities of City Commission or School Board. I appreciate the work and the danger women suffragettes struggled with to make sure I could vote. The 19th Amendment, ratified on April 18, 1920, gave all women the right to vote. Every time I walk into my polling place, I thank God for this freedom.
2. Vote with wisdom.
We need to educate ourselves about the issues. Listening to the negative and positive ads on television gives little incentive or true knowledge. Study the websites of the major candidates where they often post their beliefs and their voting records. Know who you’re voting for and what they stand for—not just the party they represent.
Send emails to the various candidates and ask them about their stance on the issues. They like to talk about what they believe. You may receive a reply from a staff member rather than the candidate, but they know what their boss believes.
You can also check out sites such as Vote Smart to learn more about each candidate in your district.
Although we hear predominantly negative views from both sides of the aisle, many strong Christians and moral people have chosen to serve in politics. Without these public servants, our democracy would be weakened. We would be at the mercy of despots and dictators.
So we need to vote with wisdom and follow the guidance of Matthew 10:16: “Be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves.”
3. Vote with prayer.
No matter which party we choose to follow, prayer is the most proactive thing we can do. Not praying for a certain person to be elected or for the other one to be defeated. I don’t believe God really cares that much about our personal voting preferences. Jesus cautioned us to keep the balance, to give to Caesar (government) what belongs to the government and give to God what belongs to him.
Still, we can pray that our voting places will be safe from any radical segment, barging in with guns blazing. We can pray that whoever is elected will be fair, just, and moral. We can pray for the direction of our country so that it follows divine design. We can pray to never lose our freedoms, especially the freedom to worship who we choose. We can pray for the families of elected officials, those spouses and children who no doubt feel the sting of negative targeting.
And we can pray that no matter what the outcome of our elections, we will remain solid in our faith walks, true to our beliefs, and still praying for our country.
4. Vote with hope.
Every new voting cycle presents an opportunity for positive change. I cannot imagine the weight of decisions faced by local, state, and national officials. The problems are so vast. The issues so important for both sides. The burdens must be truly great. But we can hope some of those burdens will lift as we vote.
As we make our choices for political candidates and ballot questions, we can hope for change. For new policies so our nation will turn away from destructive ideas and follow the mandate of Micah 6:8: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could step into a new lifestyle of peace? If our nightly news would cover positive stories across the nation where the poor were helped, the hungry fed, and the sick found healing? Imagine the difference around our supper tables if we discussed the good things happening in our communities instead of the percentage of murders happening every day.
We are called to hope because hope endures and is a byproduct of the loving Holy Spirit in us (Romans 5:5).
5. Vote with acceptance.
No matter what the outcome on November 6, God is still greater than our meager attempts to find peace. No matter who is in control in the Senate, God can still work in the hearts and minds of people. No matter what happens in our voting places, we can always support the higher ground.
As we accept what the majority votes for, we can again be grateful for the democratic process that allows us the freedom to vote. We can pray for the newly elected officials and the tremendous work they must do each day. We can accept that we have done our part to vote our conscience and support those we believe will do the best job.
Acceptance means we trust God to work through human hearts and continue to weave together his plan to deliver all who believe in him. But if we are disappointed by the results, we still have the next voting cycle to make a difference. Again, a reason for gratitude.
So let’s approach November 6th with a new mindset—not laced with vengeance or a need to scream our disappointment with current policies. Let’s fill our social media posts with something positive that brings hope. Let’s act with Christ-like love toward everyone involved and trust God for the outcome.
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