A Kingdom Voter’s Guide
The time has finally arrived. Early voting has begun on what is the most confusing, embarrassing, and cynicism-inducing presidential election ever! So much has been written, said, re-written, qualified, and retracted from all sides and parties—with the obvious exception that no candidate has retracted or apologized for their harsh words and the angst they are putting the country through.
So why another article when I’m personally sick of it? Because I’m concerned, not just about the next presidency no matter who it is. I have growing concern about the state of the church body lest we lose our moral compass, credibility in the community, and worse—contribute to needless hurt and division within the church family. So I offer my VOTER’S GUIDE for CITIZENS of JESUS CHRIST’s KINGDOM. Please do your research on the issues at stake in this election, in addition to your concerns about moral fit, integrity, and character. Talk with your kids, family, and friends respectfully. And please consider taking these important reminders with you into the voting booth.
WE ALREADY HAVE A KING. The Bible does not anoint the democratic experiment of the United States as the hope of God’s work in the world. The Bible’s kingdom hope points towards a benevolent king, and the resurrected Lord Jesus is on the throne. In case you forget, we don’t vote for kings. We can decide to live under their rule. And Jesus’ reign is a good one.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN. The Bible is clear that God not only creates, but remains involved sustaining His creation. He raises up and sets down kings and kingdoms. He is in complete control, even over our situation. He is not anxious. Nor is His will for our country a failure, spinning out of control while He takes a nap. He cares about what happens to us more than we can believe, and is capable of doing more than we can imagine. And He is merciful (more on that coming).
CHRIST IS STILL HEAD OF THE CHURCH. The king’s reign is seen primarily through the worship and witness of the church in the world. God can hand over our culture to it’s selfish soul-hollowing de-humanizing desires for a redemptive purpose. But He will never leave nor forsake the church He instituted and filled with the Spirit and the promise that Jesus would alway be present advocating for her in the world and before heaven. We are chosen by God’s grace. Adopted into a new identity. Deeply beloved. Equipped to live and serve with hope. If you feel like giving up on our country…ok. Maybe you’ve been putting hope in the wrong place. Time to find a more satisfying life from the Head.
VOTING IS A PRIVILEGE. Not everyone in the world enjoys the freedom we have to vote. And for many globally who do, they know what it’s like to choose between bad and worse. You aren’t voting for a messiah (see above). You aren’t voting for just a person, but a platform with a variety of issues, people, problems, conflicts, and opportunities. And your salvation is solely dependent upon your faith in Jesus, not how you vote. It might be difficult to explain why you cast your say one way, but if you find yourself needing to justify your vote before another—and worse another Christian brother or sister—the greater difficulty is understanding why one’s identity would be more wrapped up in their political association than a gracious, gentle, and thoughtful interaction with an eternal neighbor. So give thanks for the opportunity to vote, be it for or against.
POLITICAL SHAMING IS SHAMING and SHAMING is ARROGANTLY SINFUL. Facebook shaming is a growing problem of social media studied by sociologists. Political shaming might be the loudest and ugliest sort of social media shaming this electoral season. If you are upset by someone’s post, close Facebook and pray for them. If you feel compelled to tell people what they should think, turn down the vitriol. Jesus said out of the mouth the heart speaks. So every time we open our mouths, or click “post,” we confess something about us. And if the message sounds like, “I am so much more right than you,” it reveals how unsettled you might really be. If you want to convince someone of the cogency of an argument, invite a real person for coffee or dinner and tell them face to face, gently, earning the right to share with care and compassion. Determining who is in or out of heaven is way above our pay grade. Folks think differently than you. Some probably less than you. It’s ok. The world is a better more beautiful place with diversity. The church certainly is. Don’t shame people for who they vote for.
LORD HAVE MERCY. Pray, if not shout this out loud before, during, and after your trip to the voting booth. “Lord Have Mercy.” He has it. And loves to share it. And loves to hear His kids speak it in broken dependence individually and for our nation.
Just another way we are moving together into the remarkable love of Jesus Christ. Lord, have mercy on us, a church family—citizens of heaven—given the privilege to live and serve in our country.