I know, I know…if you clicked on this link then you are a brave soul! It has been one week since our presidential election, and I have seen a plethora of articles, blogs, and everything else trying to explain what happened, object to what happened, and correct all of this. That is not my intention, I simply want to plant a thought in your noggin for the next time you vote, especially if you are a Christian.
I know that Jesus said nothing about voting; and Peter, Paul, or any other Christians from our Bibles ever participated in voting. So, our ability to vote for leaders is not just foreign to the First Century Church, but they lived in a situation in which the leaders were powerful and most assuredly presented some opposition to the church. We could argue that the church stood as a treat to the government and a way to transcend the systems set up by government. But I have wondered through this election season, what if they could vote like we do? What would be the guiding principles that would guide their vote? This line of thought not only guided my vote, but changed the way I view voting.
You will hear tips on how a Christian should vote…I’ll leave that to those Christian celebrities who are able to throw their weight around and actually influence people. I have no desire to merge government with the Church. I think Jesus would agree with me, as would John who wrote Revelation…there is power of the government, and then there is the power of God and his son Jesus who reigns supreme over all governments.
So, anyway…back to our vote. So often I hear Christian people say that they voted a certain way because of two important reasons. First, they claim that a particular candidate or platform is more of what God wants for our world. I hear this from all sides, all parties, and the truth is…both have a point and both should search their blind-spots. Second, they claim that they vote for what’s best for them and their family. I get it—I want lower taxes, better benefits, and some more time to do what I want to do with my life (which is usually filling it with a bunch of busy work and social media and…ok, I’ll stop!)
So, let’s look at the two greatest commands that are from the mouth of our King Jesus. Jesus says everything is wrapped up in these commands. When asked what are most important, Jesus replied in Matthew 22: “37 ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
My question in the middle of this crazy election season was this: how do we vote in a way that fulfills these commandments?
What does it mean to Love God with everything (heart, soul, and mind) and does God take offense to us compromising our values and arguing our “yah buts” when we hear something from the other side that we know God would support? Most all of us know the fatal flaws of candidates…because they are people like us. So, we must love God through the church first, and through the government second and we can’t get them confused…one is from God and for God and the other is government.
What does it mean to love my neighbor with my vote? What if we all voted for what was best for each other instead of what was best for me and mine? What if I paid higher taxes so my neighbor with a terminal disease could enjoy his retirement healthcare? What if I fought for the rights of veterans in this country like I do my kid’s grades at school? What if helping police have a safe day on the streets most definitely matters and helping build the societal value of black brothers and sisters most definitely matters as well?
We will all vote again, and our vote is not a weapon to use against some created enemy, nor is it a valued possession to keep to ourselves; it is an opportunity to do what Christians are supposed to do with everything God has blessed us with…we are to love God and love our neighbor. So, yes, my vote is an opportunity to show love both to God and to my neighbors. How about yours?
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.