Not so fast. I used to be one of you. I’ve had a lifelong aversion to politics. Also, I have a near fatal allergic reaction to drama and vitriol and both of those seem to be part of the package when talking about politics. It’s much easier just to bury your head in the proverbial sand, scroll thru your feeds, roll your eyes, and keep adding people to your block list.
Nevertheless, as my trainer Sean likes to say immediately before he crushes me…”Here we are.”
What makes this election different? 2020. We’ve all seen the 2020 memes, told a few 2020 jokes. However, we’ve also all experienced a year like none other. COVID and the lockdowns. Jobs being remote. Schools going online. Businesses failing. We’ve all been unnerved by the social/civil tensions and resulting riots. And, oh yeah…don’t forget your masks! 2020 seems to be a magnet for anything and everything difficult. For us it was the loss my wife’s father and my fight with cancer. What’s the perfect spice to add to this stew? I know…an election!
As Christians, we need to think Biblically about all of this, but particularly on the eve of Election Day, we need to think Biblically about the election. To this end, with some fear and trepidation and a full cup of java, I humbly offer five pastoral considerations.
- Vote informed. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours pouring over all the positions, but you need to know the basics. Realize that you aren’t so much voting for the person, but the platform. What do they stand for? Look at the track record and the trajectory of each party. Where are they headed?
- Vote close. There is no candidate, or platform that will ever completely align with a biblical worldview. As Christians, we need to realize this first and then vote for what is closest. There are unbiblical principles [and character traits] on both sides…we have a mission as believers that supersedes all of it. Which will get us closer to the mission of glorifying God by making and maturing disciples of Jesus?
- Vote your conscience. This is a slippery one. It’s not “vote your feelings” but “vote your conscience.” As Christians, our conscience should be informed by the Holy Spirit, as He conforms us individually into the image of Jesus. We are all at different places. Some people won’t vote the same as you do. Some people can’t even bring themselves to vote for either major party candidate. We have to leave room for this in grace.
- Vote. [Just do it.] It’s never been easier to vote and the numbers prove that people are voting more now than ever. Even if you can’t vote for a major party, there are many state and local issues that you need to weigh in on. Voting isn’t a biblical right, it is a civil privilege and one of stewardship. As Christians we should be good citizens. The reality is that it is FAR easier to be a Christian in the USA than many other places, we are not being persecuted here.
- Stop the insanity. I know, this point doesn’t have a clever “vote” title, but Christians, I beg you – STOP spewing poison on social media. The world is watching. Stop fueling divisions in friendships and families. Stop the idolatry of political parties and America. Stop the blind faith in political parties. If you are getting too upset about the election, it’s too important to you. Also, don’t think this will be over tomorrow…you think the election was bad, wait til the counting…we need to continue to extend grace and pursue peace.
Our marching orders do not come from a political party, they come from Jesus. He is our King. He is sovereign. He alone gets our full allegiance. He sets up rulers, kings, presidents all for HIS purposes. [Which many times, don’t look like our purposes…].
He has told us clearly, ironically in an interaction with a lawyer looking to trap Him, what should be the fabric that runs through all our lives, even in 2020 —
“And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:35–40 ESV)