It’s an election year, and unless you live in a shoe, you have been on the receiving end of both parties’ tireless efforts at courting your vote. With all the mudslinging, name calling and hot-button issues, it can be difficult, as believers, to know how we’re supposed to think about the dogfight that has become this year’s presidential race.
As we consider the issues and candidates and talk about them with friends, co-workers and neighbors, let’s try to think Christianly about presidential politics.
- Pledge your allegiance to Jesus. Our ultimate allegiance is pledged, not to a nation, government or political leader, but to the one true King and His kingdom – Jesus Christ. As believers ransomed from sin and death, our loyalties belong to Him. He is not interested in sharing our allegiance or affection.
- Trust God’s ultimate authority. Because we trust God as the sovereign and good Ruler of all things, we can be set free from the fear that our fate rests in the hands of lawmakers, lobbyists, justices or politicians. Our ultimate hope is not in men or the decisions they make – it’s in the reality that Christ defeated sin and death on the cross and purchased newness of life for all who believe. And He is coming again – soon, by God’s grace – to establish peace and justice on the earth forever.
- Be aware. Even if you hate politics or feel intimidated to talk about it, do your best to be informed. Watch the news, listen to NPR, read a news website, follow BBC World News on Twitter (@BBCWorld) – something. It does not speak well of the gospel for believers to be completely ignorant of and apathetic to what is happening in the world. Keep in mind that most news outlets are pushing an agenda, so you will have to do some work to get a fair and balanced take on things.
- Be involved. As the salt and light of the world, we ought to steward the liberties we’ve been given for the glory of God and the good of all people. We live in a democracy where our voice matters and our vote has the ability to influence important decisions. That is an incredible grace. Allegiance to King and kingdom does not mean we disengage from the world around us but rather lean into it and push back the darkness.
- Remember that blood is thicker than politics. Tether yourself tightly to the law of love as you talk with others about potentially divisive issues. Especially in your conversations with other believers, remember that we are bound by blood, and that bond is stronger and more important than our views on healthcare, education, whether the United States should play nice or get tough with China, whose fiscal policy we favor or which candidate has the best hair.
- Point people to the hope of the gospel. Our nation faces numerous challenges in the days to come, regardless of whether the White House is red or blue. Times are tough, and people facing hardship and despair need to hear the hope of the gospel and the love of a heavenly Father who provides and protects. Look for opportunities in this political season to talk about the hope and peace through Christ that cannot be crushed or stolen by circumstance.
Regardless of who is elected on November 6, it is our duty and happy privilege as believers to pray for those in leadership. They are in need of Christ every moment, just like we are, whether they recognize that or not. The Scriptures also instruct us to honor and submit to those in authority. No matter whose policies are implemented or repealed, the church is called to care for the poor, show mercy to the weak and contend for justice on behalf of the vulnerable and oppressed. We have been made a new people with a heavenly citizenship. Let’s walk that out with zealous humility – together.