In a few short weeks, we must vote. There are no good options. Why would there be when we expect mere mortals to fill the shoes only One can adequately fill? Until Jesus returns, we will be perennially disappointed in the selection. Maybe it would have been better to realize this sooner. A politician cannot save us.
This world is not our home. We are aliens in a foreign land, members of Christ’s kingdom, and Jesus is our King. Yet, until He returns, we are in the now and the definitely not yet. He has not yet returned to bring justice, and so we must decide between two particularly reprehensible choices this election cycle.
God’s instructions to the Jewish people who had been carried off to ancient pagan Babylon can be applied to our current situation. In the NIV, this passage from Jeremiah is entitled A Letter to the Exiles. Likewise, Peter calls his readers exiles and strangers (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11-17) as he offers similar advice. I feel very much like an exile and a stranger as I try to discern where to place my vote.
“This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. . . It said: ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”‘” (Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 NIV).
How can we best seek the peace and prosperity of our nation, so that we also may have peace and prosperity? This is the question. Here, as in 1 Timothy 2:1-5, we are commanded to pray for our leaders and our nation. Do we pray?
As we determine which key issues help us decide how to vote, evangelicals have often neglected to consider the very issues Jesus spelled out as supremely important in Matthew 25:31-46: care of the poor, the refugee, the sick, and the imprisoned. Jesus said these are indicative of our salvation and the fruit of His Spirit within us. We are personally responsible to do this.
But what about our nation? God had stipulations in place for ancient Israel as a nation in all of these categories. He is just and kind. Why should we not long for a nation that considers these of primary importance as well? This broadens our view from merely economics and abortion to include reformation of our disastrous prison system, health care that is affordable and available, well-vetted yet compassionate immigration policies, and an improved vocational and retraining support system. Does any candidate have a plan for improving these?
If we vote for a candidate who would prohibit our nation from taking in families of small children and those children drown in the Aegean Sea or are killed by bombings in Aleppo or some other part of Syria, or if they are carried away as slaves by extremists, would our selection of that candidate have a direct bearing upon our personal guilt? I believe it would because in so choosing we will have shut our hearts toward helping the poor, the stranger, the trafficked, and the outcast, and will have rejected a Christian ethic spelled out clearly by Christ.
We must pray as we make our decision. None of the candidates reflect our core values, and maybe never will, for we are citizens of a better country. As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, we must decide who would most likely promote the values necessary to allow us to raise our families, to live peaceful lives, and to protect the weak, the destitute, the trafficked, the prisoner, and the refugee. Is there such a candidate?
Unfortunately, abortion is the law of the land. Roe v Wade is not being considered for revision and has not been overturned in over forty-three years. No legislation is pending. The only way this election might impact abortion would be through the selection of Supreme Court justices. So, as we consider our options, we must weigh the possibility of a candidate’s selection of Supreme Court judges.
But do we even have a pro-life choice in this election? Regardless of the promises by one of the candidates, I doubt it.
Our decisions will be highly personal. The decision I make may not be the decision you make. For that reason, I will not announce my decision. There is no “right” choice. Maybe we will finally realize that believers in Christ can be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or Undeclared, choosing the best we are able from among the flawed candidates. Some of us may choose not to vote. Some may even write in our own choice. Each must answer to God, and regardless of differing opinions, the body of Christ is still united in Him. Do not lose heart, for even after the election, God is still in control.