God and the voting Christian
The spice box
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
Politics is not my field, but like most people I can be a rabid advocate and defender of my chosen candidate once I have made up my mind. It’s the making up my mind that’s the problem! How does one pick and choose a President of the United States of America from among a plethora of candidates, all of whom have their pros and cons, their strong points and their weak, and who strive to present to themselves as the nation’s best hope? And then, if that’s not enough, we are asked to select judges and district attorneys and dozens of other political officers from long lists of persons we never even heard of, and about whom limited information is available. Where is Solomon when you need him?
This is a critical election year. We know there are going to be critical issues decided and critical positions filled, and God knows (he does, you know) that we want to make our vote count in political choices that will best accomplish His purposes.
The first election for which I was eligible to vote was the Nixon/Kennedy contest. In that election too there were hidden agenda—the unmentionable one was that of religion. Many Protestant Christians whom I loved and respected urged that no Christian should vote for a Catholic—that ultimately it would mean the Pope would exert undue influence, even control, over the affairs of the United States. It seemed to exert a sort of “herd” mentality that said, “If you are really a Christian, and want God’s best for the country, you have to go along with us on this!” Problem is, I’ve read that when a herd of cattle stampedes, the individual cattle may follow the leaders right over the edge of a cliff. Where’s the wisdom in that?
We do not need a respected Christian leader to tell us for whom we should and should not vote; we do need wise, praying individuals whose collective wisdom will critically impact results.
The Book of James clearly tells us where to find wisdom—let the seeker ask of God, who gives liberally and straightforwardly. The wise person faced with a choice will engage God in the decision-making process, and be sensitive to the leading of God, even if that leading appears contrary to the thinking of others.
To clarify in my own mind what is needed, I’ve tried to list a few things that appear to me to be vital in Christian decision–making, including deciding how to vote in a critical election:
1. Engage God in the decision-making process from beginning to end. Seek his wisdom and his help in the discovery process of learning as much as we can about the candidates and issues.
2. Put effort into studying and understanding the issues. As much as possible, get to know the candidate and the issues the candidate advocates. Don’t follow the herd. Take personal responsibility for making wise choices.
3. Accept that compromise is not a dirty word. Recognize that we will never find a candidate with whom we will agree on every point. Prayerfully consider where we can and cannot compromise, weighing the issues and their relative importance.
4. Recognize mudslinging. Politics can be dirty. Scrape off the mud and find out what’s underneath before making any rash decisions. Gender and race are not issues; basic character is.
5. Pray that God’s will be done. Realize that while God may lead one to vote in a particular way, he may lead other equally sincere persons to vote another way. He has his reasons; our responsibility is to do our best to make a wise choice. The rest must be left in his hands.
6. Casting a vote is not the end. Before and after the election, continue to seek God’s leading. Be willing to work toward the resolution of those issues you believe in.