This blog post was written by teaching team resident Garrison Weiner and pastor Jon Ludovina.
Election season is upon us.
Like a sleazy guy hitting on you at a bar.
I can’t tell you who to vote for. Or who not to vote for. Biblically, I can’t even tell you as a Christian that you absolutely should or should not vote. But I can tell you the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection gives us new perspective and a new identity.
Christian Perspective in the Voting Booth
God has done all the work to save us from the dominion of darkness. God has sovereignly held the world together from its foundation and He will continue to do so until He decides it’s time to bring the new heaven and the new earth. No result in this election speaks ultimate hope or devastation for us as individuals or as a nation. God is our hope. Not Trump. Not Clinton. Not Johnson.
Christian Identity in the Voting Booth
If you choose to vote, do so remembering that you’ve been made part of God’s redeemed family. Vote knowing that we walk in the balanced tension of being holy exiles; citizens of heaven first and foremost. And modern patriotic Americans secondly. With these two identities we are invited to democratically participate or abstain knowing no action or outcome will dictate who we are.
If your candidate loses, you are still God’s kid. Secure, loved, and full of hope.
If your candidate wins, we still have work to do as God’s missionary exiles that the government cannot and will not do for us.
So, Who Should I Vote For?
Remembering that as a Christian you are free to vote or not vote as you prayerfully choose, but I want to give you some help if you do decide to vote for someone. If you choose to vote, please prayerfully consider these bad reasons to vote for someone and good questions to ask as you pick your candidate:
Bad Reasons to Vote for Someone:
- Guilt. I think I’ve thought this before, “If I don’t vote then I’m not a real American.” Or, “I’m wasting my hard earned right to vote. Soldiers died for this. I better care.” The good news for me and you as believers is that we belong to a greater kingdom. Our foremost allegiance is to Jesus, not America. We are free to embrace our rights as citizens by participating or abstaining. We live in the land of the free, but we know ultimate freedom is found in Christ. Freedom from guilt, condemnation and putting our identity in American ideals.
- Biased media told me to. If you only listen to one media outlet, it’s kind of like only eating one food group. You’re not going to get a balanced diet. To be informed we have to listen to the talking points of the candidate instead of solely listening to others opinions. And we have to make sure the candidates actions back up their talking points.
- “I’ve always voted _____ .” My family is ______ . As Christians it doesn’t make a lot of sense to be straight ticket voters. There will be certain issues and approaches we agree with from both sides of the ticket. If you dismiss someone or vote for someone simply because they have a [R] or [D] beside their name, you’re exercising your right to laziness; not your right to thoughtfully vote.
- Because I think they’ll fix everything. Biblically, in order for a candidate to fix everything they would need to live a perfect life, sinless and holy. Then they would need to die one of the most gruesome deaths imaginable and be resurrected. Instead of worrying about whether a candidate will fix all our problems or not, we can trust and rejoice because God who has redeemed us. And God will sustain us through all our worries and struggles in this broken world.
If you do choose to vote and you’re trying to faithfully avoid the above pitfalls, here are some helpful questions to ask as you seek to use your vote well:
Good Questions to Ask:
- Are they trustworthy? Politicians can be really good at putting on a face. Every American politician faces the temptation to deceive to save face and get elected. Is the candidate committed to living with integrity? Have they been caught in lies? Are they willing to admit and own their mistakes and failures? (Proverbs 16:10-13, Proverbs 25:19).
- Do they show conviction? Part of leading with integrity is remaining faithful to what you believe. Do they only say what they think is popular or what they think will get them elected? Have they displayed a willingness to fight for unpopular positions? Have they displayed a consistent worldview and philosophy that is foundational to their policies? People are allowed to change their opinions, but wishy-washy beliefs and pandering for blocks of voters are unhealthy character traits for a leader. (Proverbs 3:3-4, Proverbs 28:20).
- Do they show compassion? Does the candidate care about people? Do they tend to villainize anyone who disagrees with them or is affiliated with a different party? Is there evidence that they intend to use their office as a way to serve people? Or do they desire their office to serve them? (Psalm 34:18, 1 Peter 3:8, Proverbs 22:16, 22-23)
- How are they going to spend money? I’m beginning to see how being financially responsible can shape the course of your entire life. As I’ve taken this into account personally, I realized I’ll be paying taxes for the rest of my life and if you’re an American citizen you’re probably in the same boat as me. The candidates that are running for office are going to be the ones handling that money. How are they going to utilize our money? If a candidate is responsible with money and has plans to utilize monetary resources efficiently, they’re worth considering (Psalm 112:5, Proverbs 16:8, 1 Tim. 6:17-19).
I know that these questions won’t necessarily give you an obvious candidate to vote for; but they’re all worthy of your prayer and consideration. As believers in Jesus we’ve been reconciled to God and given new identities. Being exiles in this world we get to engage the culture we live in; whether we vote or not. We’re free to choose but either way, we are called to be united as church family. The candidates running for office this fall can’t save the world. But God can and is actively working to save our communities and our world.
So Vote. Or don’t vote.
But don’t forget who you are.