Election 2020. The next huge decision on our calendar we all needed this year. The one we’ve been looking forward to all year. Not!
2020 has been a crazy year, for sure. The election has, in no small part, only added to the craziness for those of us in America.
Election Day is yet another thing to deal with this year after a long line of tense and exhausting processes that have at times left us discouraged. Wondering whether you or your family are choosing a good candidate and supporting a good cause, wondering what others might think of you if you do or do not put out signage, and whether or not you should share opinions on social media. Election cycles, regardless of the time or place, are one of the most animated and intense of seasons.
And since they happen regularly (in most countries at least), it opens an interesting dilemma for the Christian who seeks to live their lives according to Scripture: How should Jesus-followers vote?
How Should A Christian Vote?
While this might not feel super relevant to many teens (since they can’t vote!), it’s still a good thing for young Christians to start thinking about.
Perhaps you’re watching your family as they go about the process of choosing a candidate and aren’t impressed with the choice they’ve made. Maybe you’re looking forward to the day when you’ll be able to vote yourself. Maybe you’re involved in politics already and are participating with your family in the political landscape. Maybe you aren’t even familiar with politics or don’t care. These are all matters of choice, choice that you have as an individual human being.
I encourage you, especially if you’re a young person who cannot vote yet, to pay attention to the political homefront. Maybe that means simply listening to other opinions on it, but it also means lining up your ideas and opinions with the unchanging Word of God. These are fundamental issues and questions that you’ll be faced with more and more as you mature into adulthood. Once you do, there’s no turning back. It’s important that you’re forming those opinions now, in your younger years, for yourself. I challenge you: don’t just go with someone else’s opinion. Make it your own.
In America, the process of voting is your right as a mature, thinking citizen of the United States. You have the right to vote for who you choose or to decline to vote altogether. It’s a personal and private matter. As a citizen of a higher calling, the kingdom of God, you have an even greater responsibility to fill, a responsibility that should never be taken lightly.
Our responsibility to the world around us must be inspired by our worldview of Christianity. Our opinions about politics, government, and the future of our nation must be directly fueled by the truth of God’s Word. We can’t separate our Christian convictions from our political opinions; instead we should allow the former to enlighten the latter. We have to be motivated by that. That doesn’t excuse us from the table of our country, in fact if anything, I believe it calls us to dine at that table even more so.
In the New Testament, Jesus gives us a perfect example of contribution to a highly corrupt form of government and showed us that while on this earth, we are citizens of a temporal kingdom, with a heavenly goal in sight. By paying taxes and giving tribute to Caesar, he showed us that it is not our place to buck the government except in matters that violate Godly principles. “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)Being a citizen of a higher kingdom does not give us liberty to ignore the matters of a temporal one. Rather, we need to be involved with them as well. Click To Tweet
Jesus showed us that being a citizen of a higher kingdom does not give us liberty to ignore the matters of a temporal one. Rather, we need to be involved with them as well.
Our evangelicalist worldview should be driving us to do right by our fellow man. To love another enough that we look out for the good of others, even in the way we vote. I can’t tell you how to vote, nor would I want to. But what I can say is this: use and choose your vote or lack thereof carefully and wisely.
While there will never be a perfect candidate, using and choosing our vote carefully means using discernment and wisdom in evaluating each candidate. Here are a few of the things I take into consideration when choosing a good Presidential candidate that I encourage you to carefully consider.
1. Protects Religious Liberty and Values Family
We need to look for a candidate who supports religious liberty, values family, and protects the right of every individual to speak and believe the way each man and woman sees fit. The government not only was created by Christian men and women, but was placed in the hands of the people. Therefore, it’s our right and duty to seek out candidates who defend those rights. To draw it back to a biblical standpoint, consider the words of St. Peter who, when faced with government tyranny, said: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Finding a leader who protects our right to believe and worship the way we see fit is a must. This is undeniably the concern of a believer of any kind.
2 Defends Life
“In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). God values all life and teaches us to value it as well. The Bible teaches that all life is sacred and deserves the right it has been given to live. God never gave us the gift of children and childbearing for us to lightly squander. Deciding whether or not a child should be born is never our right, only God’s. He gives, He takes away. We do not have the right to decide when a human life should end. Finding a candidate who values all human life and its sanctity and seeks to defend the rights of the unborn should be a priority for the believer (Psalms 139:13-16). But to even take it a step further, defending and protecting the elderly, those in danger of personal attack, giving hope to the depressed and suicidal, protecting the handicapped ones and those in need of asylum.
3. Puts People First
I doubt there is a single person who would disagree that a candidate for any position in government should be focused on the needs of the people he serves. A leader needs to be first a servant. Jesus himself demonstrated this when he claimed: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus demonstrated good and powerful leadership by showing that a leader doesn’t work for himself, but for the people he purports to serve. Find a candidate who supports the interests of the American people, both home and abroad. A candidate who defends our people from tyranny whether that be overseas or in and among us.
4. Defends the Defenseless
Jesus demonstrated this as well and it’s clear from his ministry and also the later words of his followers that leaders look out for the weaker ones (James 1:27). In Jesus’s time, the outcast were the poor, the sick, and the Samaritans–those who were unwelcome in Israel. But Jesus reached out to them too, proving that a leader doesn’t just serve the ones in his immediate vicinity, but those who are affected around him. Finding a good candidate means finding one who protects others as well–who looks out for the outcast and the ones no one else wants, the ones everyone else attacks.
5. Seeks Truth and Lives with Integrity
God values truth. And truth is something we should value as well. No one should be expected to put their trust in a candidate who has a proven track record of lying intentionally for personal gain. The Word teaches quite clearly that those who are defined by lying and are unsaved will take part in unquenchable flame. Jesus takes lying seriously. A leader needs to strive to be honest, even when it hurts. We need a candidate who demands truth. Someone who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is sometimes and tackle the hard ball issues facing our day head on.
6. Loves Peace
Of course, we won’t have perfect peace apart from Christ. This world is filled with turmoil. But that doesn’t mean peace is any less important to Jesus. And we don’t need a leader who is looking to cause trouble. We need a leader who will seek peace and pursue it. A leader who wants the nations of the world at peace with one another and working together in harmony as much as possible. Find a candidate who seeks peace and looks for opportunities to unite instead of divide.
7. Freedom, Liberty, Justice
These are the cornerstones of our founding in America. They are principles that the founders of America fought to build into us and they are pillars that should be protected by our leader. A candidate who protects the values of freedom, liberty, and justice for every man, woman, boy, and girl is fundamental to the voting process. Any time, anywhere, any place.A candidate who protects the values of freedom, liberty, and justice for every man, woman, boy, and girl is fundamental to the voting process. Any time, anywhere, any place. Click To Tweet
These seven points are some of the fundamental things I look for in a candidate. It’s important to remember that we won’t ever find a candidate that perfectly fits all our worldviews at once, especially since there are a variety of ideas and beliefs among Christians as a whole. We don’t always agree with each other, much less on a political candidate. It’s important to also remember that you aren’t voting for who will be teaching in your church, you’re voting for someone who will be leading your country. There are important qualifications for both, but there are also differences in application.
Consider this: There has never been a single leader, whether in the Bible, ancient history, or American history who had it all together and didn’t have some kind of issue. You won’t find one. Even the greatest of men whom we look up to and revere in history were at the end of the day only human. Their principles and the things they believed in are what made the difference.
God is willing that every man should come to repentance. But not every man does. There is an abundance of imperfect people in the world and God somehow manages to use them. It’s not up to us to decide who God uses. It’s up to us to decide whether or not we will yield to the way God wants to use us.
One of my favorite passages in the Old Testament comes from Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” This is what our God requires of us. We are to seek justice, kindness, and humility toward God and one another, and this should transfer into the way we vote.
Maybe you aren’t a voter yet. That’s okay. Maybe you’re still forming your opinion on what you should even do about voting. That’s okay too! We all have to cross that bridge at one point or another. But always remember, how you vote or choose not to in the future, affects other people’s lives, for good or evil. For many of us, voting is part of how we love our neighbors.
When Elections Look Overwhelming
There is a verse inscribed on a ring I wear. It comes from Isaiah 41:10 and reads as follows: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
In a time of political unrest and turmoil in the nation of Israel, God reminded his people of his unfailing love for them and the promise that he would not leave them in desperation. Even if they were brought into unspeakable darkness, he would be the light shining in their midnights. That promise rings true through the ages into the world of the 21st century. It’s a promise many of us are finding to be true for us in the madness of the year 2020. A promise that many of us have experienced very personally as God has brought people, things, and an overwhelming awareness of his presence as we walk through our hard and frightening moments. He never, ever leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He’s just that good at his job.No matter who is in charge of your locality, God's still in charge of the universe. Click To Tweet
As we round the corner into the final days before this election, always remember: At the end of the day, God ultimately chooses who gets four years in office. He sets up and he brings down in his timing. You can always rest in the fact that no matter who is in charge of your locality, God’s still in charge of the universe.
And in the end, release it to God, who is sovereign and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). God still trumps all. He’s not bidin’ his time, waiting for man to get his act together. He’s working closely and intimately with every moment of every day. Feel his presence, rejoice in his power and take heart in his joyous strength.