I’m a Christian and I vote.
That’s what the bumper sticker read in front of me a couple of days ago. My first thought was “Ok… that’s good.” But then I began to wonder why it was important for this person to pronounce that they were exercising their personal liberty (not to mention why it was necessary to mass produce and sell such a bumper sticker). Regardless of religious affiliation, voting is a right that I expect every citizen to exercise – even though only about 50% do so. I also wondered, what was the connection and connotation, either positive or negative, between being a Christian and voting?
This November, as we are certainly aware, we will exercise our right to vote as we will elect the next President of the United States. And unless we’ve been in hibernation, we’re also aware that this election cycle has been very divisive and polarizing.
Concerning the conflict-ridden context of this political election, we can glean some wisdom from our Methodist forefather, John Wesley, when he wrote: “to vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; to speak no evil of the person they voted against, and; to take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” In a nutshell, Wesley advises us to vote for the person whom we feel will make the best leader. Our votes shouldn’t be bought, nor should we disparage the candidate(s) that we didn’t vote for, including those that supported them. (Now I’m beginning to wonder what our political climate would look like if we followed those three guidelines.)
I encourage you to vote, regardless of who you are voting for. I encourage you to take part in the political process – civilly, as Wesley taught – by using your heart, your head, and your faith when doing so. As Christians we are called to bring about the kingdom of God to the here and now. Bringing about God’s will and purpose for humanity includes electing competent leaders that will represent all of the people, while enacting and supporting righteous legislation, programs, and policies. As Christians we’re not called to keep our faith to ourselves. For if we truly are followers of Jesus Christ, then His birth, life, death, and resurrection shall inform and transform our lives – including which lever we pull in the booth.
As we look around our communities, and our country as a whole, we can see that there is much improvement to be made. We have much to be proud of as a country, but progress still needs to be made. God’s kingdom has yet to be fully realized here on earth and we can hopefully take a step in that direction by electing leaders this November that best represent God’s intentions.
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” – President Abraham Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln once remarked that his concern was not whether God was on his side, but rather to be sure that he was on God’s side, for God is always right. This November, and in our days forward, let us discern God’s will and be on his side, for no flag flies higher than the Lordship of Jesus Christ.