The anger, insults, accusations, and general unkindness that we have seen from people of all political affiliations has left many people wishing that the Chicago Cubs win in the World Series last week would have immediately been followed by the end of the world and Jesus’ return. It would have made the election a moot point. However, that didn’t happen. The good news is that we can stick around and continue to celebrate the first Cubs World Series victory in 108 years. The bad news is that we are still faced with difficult election day decisions.
A question I have heard quite regularly during this election cycle is, “Who should I vote for?” The candidates that have been presented to us have both left something to be desired. I have heard people say, “I don’t like what this one said, but….” Or “I don’t like what that one did, but….” People are trying to come to some sort of decision, but for many it has been difficult.
I don’t believe it is a pastor’s role to tell people who to vote for specifically. That’s not what this post is about. It is about encouragement and things to think about as you head to the polls.
I’ve been reminded recently about the verse that is at the top of this post. What we, as Christians, need to remember first and foremost is that this is God’s world. He is ultimately in charge no matter who is elected. This has been true since he created the world and will continue to be true until he returns. Our hope and trust is not and should not be in the rulers of this world. They are sinners just like us and they will fail.
Here are some things to think about:
- Pray -- Before you go to the polls I encourage you to pray. Pray for wisdom and understanding as you seek to make the best decisions possible. After you leave the polls and every day after the election, I encourage you to pray for wisdom, humility, and guidance for those who are elected to positions of authority. I know this is a lot easier to do if your candidate is elected, but as Christians we are called to pray for those in authority no matter what their political affiliation. Paul tells us this in 1 Timothy 2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
- Remember -- Remember that God is in charge. No matter who is elected this year, God is still in charge. That doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect and that our leaders will always make decisions that please God – remember they’re still sinners. What it means, though, is that at the end of the day all that matters is your salvation and that was accomplished by Jesus Christ on the cross and the outcome of the election won’t change that. The Psalmist continued after the verse above by saying: “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.” Our eternal hope is in God and not in the rulers of this world.
- Love – Jesus was once asked to pick the greatest commandment. His response was “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and soul and mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Many people will be happy with the outcome of this year’s election and many will not. Regardless of who wins, our responsibility as Christians does not change. We are to love our neighbors as God has loved us. This doesn’t, however, mean just the neighbors with whose ideals we agree. In Luke 6:32-33 Jesus teaches us this when he says, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” As Christians we are called to love others with a love that this world would think of as strange. A love that knows no bounds. A love that doesn’t expect love in return. A love that was first shown to us when Jesus Christ came to die in our place and forgive all of our sins.
So as you head to the polls tomorrow (or today), pray for God’s guidance for your decisions and for his guidance for our country, remember that he is in charge and that this is his world, and love your neighbors today and every day.