Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.
– Romans 13:1
I used to love politics. The give and take, arguing philosophical and ideological points. It was good, even if the other person won. I’d always be disappointed if my side lost, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Nonetheless, politics was – on the surface at least – civil. Recently it’s turned really personal. Character assassination seems to be the m.o. of every politician and political wonk these days. Worse yet, if your person loses then clearly the other one cheated. I saw someone complaining recently that the system doesn’t allow you to vote your conscience. I just looked at my ballot and there are nine – 9 – people running for president. If that’s not enough and nobody speaks for your conscience, you can write someone in. This type of complaining (cheating accusations, crapping on the system because your person lost and multiple other things) is annoying to me.
Being that my world view has always tilted toward where in the world the church lands on these things, I’m more annoyed at the way the church is dealing with politics as of late. Maybe it’s a bleed over from the general public but there is this hysteria on both sides of the aisle that says that if the other person wins it’s the end of life as we know it. With all do respect, it’s not the end of life as we know it. We have had liberal politicians and we’ve had conservative politicians and we’ve had everything in between and life has gone on. Maybe this is a little simplistic, but as Christians we should be able to step away from the fray and acknowledge that no matter what happens God is still in control. My mom used to tell me, “God is not surprised.” The verse out of Romans gives me comfort knowing that God was aware, and in some way involved, long before any of us with who would win each and every election. Do your due diligence and vote for the person that you think is best, but remember that win or lose there’s a greater power at work in the universe. One of my college professors posted this quote from John Wesley this week and I think that it’s a good recommendation for us, as Christians to hold to:
I met those in our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy; 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against; And 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.
John Wesley, 1774
As Christians we need to step out of the fray. God has called us to be something better than the general populace. Let’s do that rather than squabbling about how unchristian or horrible it is to vote for the other person.