N.B. Our nation is facing one of the most crucial elections in its history. What happens on November 8 will have consequences for years to come. I feel compelled to speak my mind about this, or rather write it, specifically regarding the way I believe Christians should respond to a presidential race where both major party candidates seem to be morally disqualified. Can we even vote in such an election? Can we not vote in such an election? I have taken inspiration for this post from many knowledgeable people and what they themselves have written. I owe them many thanks but could not possibly name them all. I pray that you would approach my opinions as just that – my opinions. I have done my best to humbly, prayerfully seek God’s will in this situation, to be like the men of Issachar “who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel [or America] ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
“If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority” (John 7:17).
Sometimes, decisions are easy. Or at least, it’s easy to tell what the right answer is, if it is not always easy to follow through.
However, sometimes knowing right from wrong, wisdom from foolishness, is really, really hard. How do we choose between two bad answers? Do we choose at all?
If you’ve never encountered such a situation in your life, you will once you examine your 2016 ballot.
We must look to God and His Word for the answers. Certainly His wisdom is there to guide us in situations where the answer is clear, but His understanding is also there for the times when all that this broken world offers us are murky, muddy, unpalatable options.
When the world is full of darkness, and were are forced, by sheer fact of living, to walk through that darkness, let us choose to walk in the light. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5b). The darkness is as light with Him. So, although He has not yet called us out of this world, and since it is He Himself who has sent us into the world, let us begin by remembering not to fear. He is with us. His rod and His staff comfort us. The devil wants us to look at our options and throw our hands up in despair. But dismay, resignation, hopelessness – these are not the ways of God. He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind, and He commands us to be strong and courageous.
Though we walk in the midst of uncleanness and all things that are an affront to holiness, we can rest in confidence, and we can remain vigilant as we are instructed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When all we see is darkness, the Lord is a light to us. Let us not worry that we cannot see a good answer. He is our good answer, and though we cannot yet see Him, with eyes of faith and a heart renewed by His New Covenant we can see His ways.
Let us remind ourselves that it is God who gives authority to every ruler on earth, whether good or evil:
“He changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21).
“So Pilate said to Him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You and authority to crucify You?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above.” (John 19:10-11a).
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).
Yet we must also remember that God’s sovereignty never excuses us from our responsibility. We are saved when grace meets faith, and though God causes us to walk in His ways, day to day we must choose to follow Him. We must learn to discern what is pleasing to our God. We must seek His will in every aspect of our lives, and on November 8, that includes our ballots.
As citizens of the United States of America, we have a role in the government, a position with a sphere of authority. Will we be good stewards of this right? If we believe that God is the giver of authority, then it follows that He is the one that has given us this responsibility. Whether our power be great or small, let us use it wisely and for God’s glory. If God is at work in politics and government, then why not His people, His hands and feet, His salt and light? I don’t know about you, but I think our country needs a bit of saltiness and light in our festering and dark government. It needs to be touched by the hands and feet of the One who out of holiness, justice, and love redeemed us from lawlessness to make us zealous for good works.
We can follow the example of godly men and women throughout the Word who honored God in their interactions with rulers who were often anything but godly. They glorified Him with the mundane, everyday things; they entrusted themselves to Him when in positions of great authority; and they followed Him with everything in between. Remember Jesus, who in wisdom reasoned that we should “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Remember Paul, who exercised his rights as a Roman citizen to fulfill God’s will, that he would be Christ’s witness in Rome. Remember Joseph, Daniel, and Esther, who were given power in empires hostile to their God in order that He could work through them to accomplish His word; perhaps we likewise have come to the kingdom “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
We have an unspeakably urgent responsibility – will we stand up for what is right, will we as citizens lead our country in a way that honors God, or will we relinquish our measure of control to those who have replaced our one true God with the god of self-determined righteousness, with the god of that which is the very definition of sin? Our government will either be godly or evil; as far as we have the ability, will we give voice to the direction we would choose? Whichever candidate is elected with have the opportunity to lead our country one way or the other, and unless God chooses to intervene, one of the two major party candidates will be making that decision; which candidate’s reality would you prefer? Not necessarily desire, but prefer? Then vote for that person.
It is very tempting to look at these two options and to say that we cannot vote because both candidates are too sinful, vile, or wicked. It is tempting to walk away from this election, to wring our hands and walk as fast as we can in the opposite direction of the voting booth. I know, because I have thought of doing this myself! It is precisely in these times, when faith meets the road, so to speak, that I believe we must look past our surroundings and fix our eyes unwaveringly on the heart of God. Let’s consider the ways that our next president might deal with Israel, with abortion, with marriage, and with religious liberty, for example, remembering that not only will he or she directly influence these spheres, but will also impact many future decisions with the appointment of new Supreme Court justices. Then compare these prospects with what we find about God’s heart and ways in Scripture:
“I will rejoice in doing them [Israel] good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all My heart and all My soul” (Jeremiah 32:41).
“They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into My mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin” (Jeremiah 32:35).
“He answered, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate’ (Matthew 18:4-6).
There may come a time when our nation, like many others throughout the world, becomes so diametrically opposed to God that we will find ourselves having to choose between obedience to God and obedience to the laws of our country. “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29). Which candidate will allow Christians to worship freely and openly, to operate their businesses according to their beliefs, to bring their Bibles to their classrooms? In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, the Lord instructs us to pray for our rulers in order that we might “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” If this is truly our request, then doesn’t it follow that we might, in God’s will, vote and act accordingly?
I think there is a difference between endorsing and voting for a candidate. I cannot endorse either of the two major party candidates because I cannot excuse or endorse their behavior; however, I can vote for one of them. I can also vote in every state and local election, and I hope that you will prayerfully join me in doing the same.
No matter what happens, it is important to me that I can look back and know that I did what God called me to do; He is in charge of the rest. Whatever happens on election day and the days that follow, we can praise the Lord for His goodness and be thankful that His will is always done. He is always glorified, whether by godly rulers over a godly people or by unrighteous over a people that have turned their backs on His name and Word. His judgment shows His holiness and power as well. We know that ultimately, the hope of the world cannot rest on any candidate, political party, or government; hope – sure and steadfast hope – can only be found in the One on whose shoulders the government rests. Only when He returns to rule with there be unwavering peace and unfaltering justice. While we wait for Him, may whatever our hands find to do be pleasing in His sight.
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)