Tuesday, October 28, 2008

November Newsletter - Thoughts on the Vote

The following is my "Pastor's Page" for the November church newsletter:

Some thoughts on elections, voting, and Christian citizenship

Dear members of Grace,

Shortly, many Americans will be heading to the polls to cast our votes for President and other government offices. While it is not the pastor's place to endorse candidates or tell you which way to vote, I do think that our identity as Christians does shape the way we look at voting, and helps us determine how to do it.

Here's one way of looking at it. How does your vote express your Christian love for your neighbor? Rather than self-seeking, Christians should consider the needs and well-being of others in all things. Think of voting as an exercise of love and service to others.

Have you prayed earnestly for guidance? God won't tell you whether to vote for Obama or McCain, but he does give us guidance in his Word. Some of the platform positions of these candidates or their parties may or may not be in line with Scripture. When a candidate takes a position in opposition to God's Word, this is troubling. What issues are the most important to God? What issues seem most important to each candidate? A Christian should weigh the various issues first against God's revealed Word.

Then again, some of the issues of disagreement have no direct scriptural guidance. God doesn't say whether taxes should go up or down, and on whom. God doesn't say how our nation should conduct its diplomacy, how we solve our energy problems, or what the best qualifications or experience for the job might be. Still, for many of these questions, God gives us earthly wisdom, to use to the best of our abilities. And in our calling as citizens, our nation asks us to lend that wisdom in the form of our vote.

Another thing to remember is there is never a perfect candidate. We are all fallen and sin daily. We are always going to be choosing between the “lesser of the evils”. The only perfect ruler is the one sitting on Heaven's high throne.

And even if our candidate loses, God still charges us to “pray for all those in authority”. And we know the government agent, as God's representative, is due honor and respect. The Fourth Commandment and other passages remind us to honor the authorities God places over us, pray for them, and submit to them.

Finally, pray for our nation, and for your fellow voters. Pray that whatever happens, God would “work through all things for the good of those who love him”, as he has promised. Trust in God to bring about his good purposes, in his good time, according to his good pleasure. And give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy as citizens of this nation.

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