Christians and the Election: 5 Do's and Don'ts
Hey, you know how you don't understand how anybody could be a Christian and belong to THAT political party? I know believers who believe the exact same thing...about your party. Here are 5 do's and don'ts that every believer--regardless of political stance--can follow in this political chaos.
1. Don't: confuse God's will and your politics
Do: Investigate with humility
Here's one people on both sides of the aisle can glare at me for (at least everyone will be united!) The fact is, believers who read the same Bible, are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit, and will spend eternity together can disagree about politics. Don't believe it? Glance at sermons from the American Revolution, the Civil War, the 1960's, or this past Sunday.
Though we'd love to believe that our politics align with Jesus', it's a lot more complicated than that. Just like non-believers, our political opinions are shaped by our backgrounds, where we live, who we read and listen to. Even when we use scripture to shape our political opinions, we often emphasize or deemphasize different parts of the Bible based on these factors.
Instead of assuming you hold the obvious Christian opinions, listen to believers on the other side. Whether it's sanctity of life, social justice, stewardship of the environment or stewardship of financial resources, let your guard down a little and see how Scripture is informing the opinions of brothers and sisters you don't agree with.
2. Don't: Be scared.
Do: Pray, trust, and point others to Christ
Many Americans are terrified over this election. The differences between candidates are real, and so are the differences between the future each imagines for this country.
Believers, however, should not fear, because we know who is sovereign over our nation. He reigns over the hearts of rulers and the hearts of voters. Whether our favorite candidate wins or loses, God will use the circumstances for His glory and the good of his children.
We know from Scripture that sometimes He does this by prospering nations, and sometimes by allowing hardships to fall. He put each of us in this place and this time for His purposes. Regardless of America's future, we are to be His ambassadors here and now.
When others are afraid, our duty is to pray for God's will, guidance, and grace. When the world despairs, we trust the Lord. And throughout it all, we point scared people to the Savior.
3. Don't: Compromise your Kingdom for your nation
Do: Be conformed to the image of Christ, even when you're talking politics
There's no verse that commands us to vote for a certain party or politician. There are many verses that command us to act in God-glorifying ways.
Facebook fights, deceit, hatred, slander, name-calling, backbiting, cheating, pride, boasting and unethical behavior might be politics as usual, but God has a different name for it: sin.
We have a place in politics. We have clarity and truth that the dark world doesn't have. We have a responsibility to bring God's wisdom and justice and love to the world. Our prophetic voice and uncompromising love must call the nation to a higher standard.
But when we speak, we should never compromise our Christian character. We should never slander a brother or sister in Christ. We should never denigrate Christ or His Bride through our disruputable behavior. We're citizens of the Kingdom first, and citizens of a country second.
Christ's followers are to be salt and light in the world (even during harsh political seasons). We are to love one another so well and so purely, that the world will know we are disciples by that love. We are to serve one another, put others first, speak the truth in love, exhibit integrity, be above reproach. We God's ambassadors of peace and reconciliation. We are called to sacrifice and work and perform good works so God's name is praised.
4. Don't: abstain from your civic duty
Many frustrated Christians are tempted not to vote at all, but remember that our government is more than one office. There are issues and positions that will be decided on national, state and local levels.
Get informed about the candidates and issues. Pray for God's guidance, and vote.
5. Don't: think more highly of our nation than you ought
Do: Trust God's Word
I started controversially, so might as well end that way, too. This one's going to hurt for some of you, but stay with me. I love this country and thank God that I was born here. I'm patriotic--I still salute the flag during the anthem, know the words to the patriotic songs nobody sings anymore, and read American history for fun. I'm an Army (now disabled veteran's) wife, and the daughter and granddaughter and great-granddaughter of men who fought for this country.
Okay, ready for the hard part? Here it is: America doesn't last. There won't be a good old U.S. of A in eternity. We're not even mentioned in Revelation, or anywhere in the Bible. In fact, historians tell us that superpowers have a predictable life cycle, and that we're approaching the end of ours. That doesn't mean that the government will dissolve tomorrow or that an Empire will take us over in our life time.
But it does mean this: our loyalty must be to the eternal government of our good and perfect King. Even here and now, during election season.