Are you feeling the frustration of “Election Infection”?
This election is so dirty, polarized, and troubling that I often find my best refuge is to ignore it completely. But maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe I should stare right at Election 2016 and take what it’s offering. Perhaps this terrible choice we’ve been given as Christians can work FOR us. I seem to remember Paul saying something about “All things working together for our good” (Romans 8:28). Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that deciding between two very questionable options for President falls under the umbrella of “all things.”
But how could THIS ELECTION work for our good?
Let me explain.
Perhaps this election, more than any other election in our recent history, is a chance for the Church to think about doing something OTHER than voting their “values.” Perhaps this election is a direct assault on what often becomes a Christian’s conscience-cleanser-moment when they cast a “pro-life” vote, or a “compassionate” vote, or a vote for that politician who has actually convinced you he/she stands for the “little guys” of America. The choice we have in 2016 is demanding we run from thinking a TINY event in our lives we practice every four years is actually a very Christian moment at all.
Perhaps this election is the opportunity for the Church to realize more than ever – a vote is not the most influential way to follow Christ.
I can’t seem to remember Christ telling His followers, “They will know you are my disciples by your voting record.”
I don’t remember Moses saying, “Here O Israel, the Lord your God is One, and you shall VOTE according to His values.”
I don’t recall the acts of mercy described in Matthew 25 as casting a ballot to help small businesses or suffering citizens of income inequality.
I do see Jesus saying, “I was hungry and YOU FED ME. I was thirsty and YOU GAVE ME DRINK. I was in prison and YOU CAME TO VISIT ME.” (See Matthew 25:31-46 and read it repeatedly). None of these activities can take place in a voting booth and you don’t need to wait four more years to try again should it not go your way the first time.
YES. This election is actually the perfect moment for the Church to wake up and actually DO what Jesus called us to DO… and it is something far more important.
In Church history, we have never witnessed someone testifying that it was a ballot decision that brought them to Christ. I’ve seen many baptisms and heard their testimonies and politics never gets mentioned. (Imagine that!) Look at the book of Acts and see how our forefathers won people to Christ. It was their prayer, common love and Spirit–empowered testifying that moved thousands of hearts into the faith (see the entire book of Acts). Not once did Paul tell people to get involved in politics for Jesus. He did tell them, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 (ESV).
What’s funny is that Christians are usually on both sides of political competition in America. That means Christians are fighting each other over what other person (insert political figure representing your hopes here) can do a better job “running the country.” But what if Christians tried out Paul’s competition here in Romans 12:10? What if we actually tried to “outdo one another in showing honor”? The world would notice that, our neighbors would love it, and you could actually talk about it at dinner parties and water coolers.
So this election is the perfect opportunity we may have never wanted but we probably desperately needed. The opportunity for the Church to remember lives are changed when we do something OTHER than vote. Lives are changed when we daily take up our Cross and follow Jesus, showing love and selflessness to those right next to us even if they hate us. Lives are changed when we passionately pray and authentically care about each other. Lives are changed when the Gospel is preached with conviction that the Holy Spirit provides. Lives are changed when we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Christian in 2016, do something OTHER than vote. Of course you should go to the ballot box and do your thing. There are other elections beyond the Presidential choice that matter. Plus, voting is a privilege, so don’t neglect it.
But I am saying we can do something so much better starting NOW. Lets’…
Love one another…
Call out to God…
Change the world…
Till He comes again.