In case you haven’t noticed, Tuesday is kind of a big deal.
At least, that’s what the pundits and talking heads on both sides of the aisle want you to believe. They bill it as “the most important election of our lifetime.” Which, interestingly, is how they billed it four years ago… and the four years before that… and the four years before that. Let me set you straight. The most important thing you do next week, the most consequential and life-changing, won’t take place in the ballot booth.
This may or may not be the most important election of our lifetime, but it absolutely is the most divisive. God is looking to see if His people bring hope and peace. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Election Day and beyond, the most important things you do are the everyday decisions you make to live like Jesus.
I’ve been a pastor for 30 years and a follower of Christ for 39 years. If that gives me any credibility, I want to use it to speak to the Church. I want to speak to the people of faith. I want to speak to people who are warm to the ways of Jesus. Let’s make a choice, right now, to stop chewing each other up and spitting each other out over politics. We belong to something much more meaningful and transcendent than the petty bickering between red and blue, conservative and liberal. If we don’t see this we can’t be peacemakers and we will only pour more fuel on the raging fire of divisiveness.
Jesus and His early followers would be stunned by how much time we spend on politics.
Jesus never talked politics nor about who was running the Roman Empire… Never! They would be shocked at how modern believers think we need the right President in office for the purposes of God to be fulfilled. The early church lived under godless emperor after godless emperor and had a spiritual vitality well beyond our own.
Jesus didn’t talk politics, because politics wasn’t the answer. He was clear that the world would be drawn to Him (our real hope) by the way His followers loved each other (John 13:35). Funny, he didn’t say the world would come to faith by our politics, or the angry memes we post, or the arguments we win, or the amount of undecided voters we draw to our side.
The Church is meant to be different. While the rest of the world rips each other apart, we need to be people who stand together. We need to display a confident love deeper than our political preferences. We need the people on Jesus’ downline to choose unity over division.
Based on the Christians I interact with, which is a lot, I’m convinced 33% of believers will be voting for Trump, 33% will be voting for Biden, and 33% will stay home from the polls out of disgust. Any of these three choices can be argued, and counter-argued. So which is right? Which vote pleases God the most?
We can’t be totally sure who Jesus would vote for—or even if He would vote—but we can be sure that He would play on a higher level than us. We’ve grown shortsighted, more enamored with our side winning the day than playing the long game of honoring God.
I don’t tell people what I’m doing on Tuesday because it is a personal decision.
Yes, it is informed by the Bible, but it’s not clear cut. Someone who does something different on Tuesday is not my enemy. And even if they were, loving them is a no-brainer biblical command. Therefore, in keeping with my election tradition, I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do. But I will say enough to bother everybody and hopefully enlighten some in hopes that I can create more peacemakers.
In order for the Church to stand together, we have to take time to listen. Listening creates empathy and gives us insight into how people can choose the candidate we didn’t. For example:
I understand why some believers would vote for Trump.
He’s fought for greater religious freedom. He’s been a very pro-life President. He’s stood with Israel (the Bible has a lot to say about that nation).
I understand why some believers don’t support Trump.
He’s been an awful moral example. He hasn’t held his tongue. He has bullied people and his words have inflamed people with darker skin tones.
I understand why some believers support Biden.
He’s a much less polarizing figure than Trump. He seems to genuinely care for the poor, the immigrant, and the marginalized. On the world stage, he would surely appear a more mature leader who would represent our country well.
I understand why some believers don’t support Biden.
Many of his social policies, including abortion, are difficult for followers of Jesus to accept. He’s misspoken on multiple occasions, and his Catholic faith doesn’t seem to play into his policies, as he instead seems to choose what is politically advantageous.
I understand why some believers will choose to forgo their right to vote.
Democracy isn’t in the Bible. Neither is America. And while it is a fundamental right of our country to cast a ballot, it’s not a religious duty. It is not more important than loving our neighbor, giving to those in need, prayer, and being a peacemaker.
America is a great country. And like every other empire in history, it will fall. Only one will last—the Kingdom of God. That’s where I pledge my allegiance. And you can do so too, whether you chose to cast a vote for Trump, Biden, Kanye, or none of the above.
It’s time for the Church to elevate itself above the political muck and mire. When we do that, we get a much larger, and grander, view.
So whether you vote on Tuesday or not, you can do something meaningful, even life-changing, by making the tangible choice to honor God by showing love to someone else, including the people you think didn’t vote like you voted. Make a phone call to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Rake your neighbor’s leaves. Grab a beer with a friend. Buy a stranger’s coffee. Send an encouraging text. Spend an entire day away from social media. Play with your kids. Pray for the candidate you chose not to vote for.
Honestly, I don’t think your political persuasion matters much to God. What matters more is what you do. So do something—anything—that brings peace, honor to God, and love to those around you. A vibrant, unified, and active Church would change the direction of America much faster than a butt in a chair in Washington.
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