I'm a Christian. How should I vote?
Are you red or blue? Are you an elephant or a donkey? Do you find yourself on the right or the left? Is it possible for a Christian to be a democrat? Can a republican be a real Christian? Can two people hold opposing political views and still be friends? Is it possible for two people who are members of the same church to support different presidential candidates?
As November 3rd rapidly approaches these are some of the questions that I have recently heard and read. Normally when the conversation turns political, I usually have a sudden urge to go to the bathroom or refill my coffee. I just don’t have a huge enjoyment for political talk and discussion. Part of the reason may be that my family and I spent the last ten years living abroad as missionaries. As we lived as sojourners in a few different foreign lands, we realized a few different things. The first is that the world is strangely able to continue spinning without my opinions or knowledge of what is happening. The second lesson we learned is that when we remove ourselves from a certain context, we are able to gain a certain amount of clarity and perspective. Kind of like the frog in the pot illustration. It’s easier for you to see that the water is getting hot and starting to boil from outside of the pot than it is for the frog to realize that his warm bath is turning into someone’s soup.
I love my country. I frequently thank God that His design for the world included the small detail that I was born in the United States of America. I didn’t have to be born here. I could have been born in Liberia or Ukraine. I try to keep that in perspective. While I love my country, my country and its politics do not dictate my identity. My identity is based in the reality that Christ, God the Son, humbled Himself and came to live a perfect life on the earth as a man. Endured horrific pain and sorrow as he gave his life on the cross. Then, astounded the world when his tomb was found empty on the third day. He arose!!! And I believe that it is true! I believe that I am a hopelessly lost sinner. I believe that He died to pay the penalty for my sins. I believe that He rose from the grave. I believe that faith in Christ is the only way of being reconciled with God. That reality is what dictates my identity. And my identity is what helps me make decisions each and every day. As you approach the voting stall this November 3rd, gain some perspective first.
Soon we will be faced with a decision. For whom will we vote? At this point, it seems like the choice is between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. No matter your political leaning, the reality is that both of these men have a sin nature and are in the same condition I found myself…. hopelessly lost without Christ. The potential reality is that as the ballots are counted, one of these men, with all of their talents and faults, will sit and serve as our President.
So, for whom should we vote? A more specific question is, for whom should Christians vote? Well, I’m a Christian. I believe the Bible is God’s inspired Truth and is used by God to change me into the image of Christ. I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. So, how should I vote? I am not going to vote based on the candidate’s ability to persuade the masses or state their case. I am going to vote based on my identity in Christ. I’m going to vote based on my biblical convictions and not concern myself with issues that may or may not have a clear biblical answer.
But, what if someone in my own church votes opposite of me? What if some of my own brothers and sisters in Christ have a different political leaning? To be honest. I'm ok with that. I can envision elephants and donkeys sharing pews on Sunday morning. I can handle a mixture of blue and red in the congregation. I can handle disagreements regarding COVID as long there is an agreement about the Character of God. But what we must never do is confuse political preferences with biblical conviction. What if we disagree on the “Green New Deal”? That’s ok. As long as we still agree on the inspiration of Scripture. What if we disagree on taxes? That’s ok. As long as we agree on the deity of Christ. Those reading this post are probably more politically informed than I am so you could probably make your own list of issues to disagree about.
What’s my point? My point is that as Christians we have enough to disagree about. There are enough things trying to rip apart our families, homes, and churches. Let’s not let an election year add to the mix. We can have unity and still disagree. As Christians, we have unity in Christ. If you read Jesus’ prayer in John 17, towards the end Jesus talks a lot about unity. His desire is that Christians have unity. When you read that chapter, make sure you write yourself a mental note stating that unity does not equal uniformity. Unity and uniformity are two different concepts. Unity says, ‘walk with me in the same direction’. Unity could be illustrated by looking at a well-trained team of sled dogs. They work together towards a common, unified goal. Uniformity says, ‘lose yourself as you become one with me’. Uniformity could be illustrated by the Borg from Star Trek the Next Generation. Like the Borg, uniformity assimilates people into its collective so thereby losing their identity and becoming merely another cog in the propaganda machine.
As we approach difficult decisions like a Presidential vote, we are looking for unity, not uniformity. We are looking for Christians to publicly stand for what is biblical and let their preferences be kept private. There are so many reasons to divide today. Let’s look for reasons to be unified. God created us as a beautifully diverse people. He gifted us with a myriad of different talents and strengths. Let’s be the diversely unified body of Christ that we are called to be. We can even express that diverse unity through our privilege of voting as we are miraculously unified around what is biblical.
Just a few of the hot topic issues of today are abortion, gay marriage, green energy, economy, healthcare, gun policy, violent crime, climate change, ethnic inequality, immigration, etc. As you approach the voting booth ask yourself which candidate holds to a more biblical view on these topics. When you go to the polls on November 3rd make sure that your biblical convictions are driving your political preferences.
Remember that as a Christian you have an identity, which is based in Christ. As you exercise the privilege you have to vote, vote your conscience… vote your identity. Let your vote reflect the non-negotiable truths of Scripture. Let your ballot reflect the truths to which the Bible clearly speaks.
As I prepare to go to the polls on November 3rd, I am trying to keep some of these thoughts in mind. Mentally chewing on these concepts have been a help to me. I hope that they will be a help to you as well.