There is a lot of pressure to “do your civic duty” and vote. People will tell you if you don’t vote it’s like throwing away your freedoms. Others say that a non-vote is a vote for the other side—typically whichever side they are not voting for. It is an individual choice on whether or not to vote in the upcoming elections, but for me, the reasons not to get involved outweigh the reasons in favor of it.
Don’t misunderstand me, I do have opinions on the candidates who are running, and I often have to restrain myself so that I don’t get caught up in the racket of it all. Although, that is one of the problems. If I allow myself to get caught up in it, then my attentions are drawn away from where they need to be. We are told to look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). It is important to remember that the leadership and Kingdom I seek is not of this world and is unshakable (Hebrews 12:27-28). We are told, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you” (Matthew 6:33 Modern English Version throughout).
For every single talking-point I might like, there are always others that are completely against my beliefs. How could I choose someone that would inevitably choose to do things that are in opposition to what God would choose?
Relationships and God’s way
While Christians are often criticized for their beliefs, we can also create more strife by being involved with the political system. People become very emotionally involved, so much so that they have come to blows over differing opinions. Over the years I have found if I side with any candidate’s political stance overall I inevitably upset someone. This can lead to, at the very least, a heated conversation, and at the most, a long-lasting animosity between myself and the other person. Do I want to damage my relationships with others over politics? This can happen with friends, family, and fellow church members. We all have varying views on aspects of life, but we should never strive to create division.
As a Christian, I am taught to love my neighbor as myself (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 23:39, Mark 12:31). Although Christians are sometimes attacked for their beliefs, because I am to love my neighbor, I do not want to create any other circumstances that make my relationships more tenuous. Jesus stated the greatest commandments: “'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” It is difficult to show love to one who is offended (Proverbs 18:17-19).
While we may want to vote for the person that most reflects our godly beliefs, there is no earthly person that can fulfill the true need. If we are told to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to all people (Matthew 10:7, Acts 28:31), I cannot in good conscience promote or support a leader of any political party. For every single talking-point I might like, there are always others that are completely against my beliefs. How could I choose someone that would inevitably choose to do things that are in opposition to what God would choose?
We are told that we are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). I cannot be an ambassador for Christ and also represent another leader. I must trust that God knows what is best and pray that His will be done (Matthew 6:10). I also have to look at the Bible to guide me. One scripture states, “It is He who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who know understanding” (Daniel 2:21, see also Romans 13:1).
If God sets up leaders according to His will, what makes me think I am any wiser? God’s plan may indeed allow evil leaders to be in higher positions. Scripture shows that it happened in Israel. Bad kings rose and fell according to how little or how much the people were staying on course with God. He allowed evil kings to rise to power or kingdoms to fail. When the people remembered their God He often restored a loving king to lead them.
For me, throwing support behind a government leader is saying that I don’t trust God’s leadership. God says we should be different (Romans 12:2). We are to be preaching the gospel and being citizens of heaven. “But our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).