Wednesday, November 9 has huge implications. It will be a day that determines the trajectory of our country. Few days rival its significance. I know what you are thinking. Isn’t November 8 Election Day? He must have his dates wrong. No, actually, I don’t. On November 8, the 45th president of the United States will be elected, and, of course, this is important. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about November 9, the day after. I think most of us are ready for this election to be over, regardless of the outcome. We’ve grown weary of the rhetoric and our capacity for mudslinging has been exhausted. Assuredly, historians can find something unique about every presidential election, but this one has already etched its place in the American experiment as one of the most odd, hard-fought and unprecedented. I find myself completely unmotivated to make a case for whom I will vote and why. I don’t have the space here; but, most importantly, I’m convinced I don’t have the ability to unravel this complicated, convoluted mess that has become our nation’s politics.
I am, however, interested in November 9, the day after the election. Why? Because it is on that day that we have to decide to still be a nation, a people and a republic. As a Christian, I am first and foremost most thankful to be citizen of the Kingdom of God, based solely on the grace and work of Christ in my life. This inclusion into God’s family and His Kingdom has implications both on my eternity and how I am to live now. I am afraid that some of us within the Christian community have lost ground with our unbelieving neighbors, because we fall into the trap of defending our religious principles while forgetting that, without a real relationship with The Lord through being born again by His Spirit, which happens when faith is placed in Christ as Savior, there is no desire or power available to live out God’s will, much less vote accordingly. So as a pastor, allow me to offer five statements for Christians who deeply care about this election but are even more deeply devoted to Christ.
This election has been difficult to watch.
It ranges from complex to crude. We can all agree on this: the black and white choices have turned gray as our culture drifts further from the Judeo-Christian values upon which it was founded. We, like any other group, like clear choices, easy answers and quick conclusions. Unfortunately, there are none this time around.
Yes, I will vote, and I encourage you to do the same.
I will also pray for and submit to the leadership of our next president inasmuch as obeying him or her does not cause me to personally disobey God. I am not afraid of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Am I disturbed and sickened about the ramifications of electing a president who has openly stated that the unborn have no rights? Of course I am. Does it bother me to elect a president who is an admitted adulterer with multiple marriages in his past? The answer again is, of course, it does. There are blogs, articles and posts ad nauseam explaining all the ways a Christian voter is to work through this and decide upon his vote. So I truly I have nothing more to offer, except for this: I am not afraid of any man or woman. During a very tumultuous time, the prophet Isaiah spoke the words of God to His people and said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
No, neither you nor I should feel any pressure to explain on social media who we’re voting for and why.
Really, it’s OK. There seems to be an especially real sense among many that to participate in this election, you must decide your choice, explain your choice on social media, and then defend your choice when others criticize your thinking. There is one fool-proof way to avoid this; follow the founders who decided that our elections should be by secret ballot. I’m not suggesting you should somehow hide or be ashamed of your vote. But neither do I feel it is productive to brashly proclaim your allegiance in venues that do NOT lend themselves to honest and open discourse. You can make your decision, cast your vote and keep it to yourself. Really, it is OK.
I have people in my life who I care about deeply who will vote for Hillary, Trump or a third party candidate…and some will abstain from voting.
I have no plans to change my love for them based on their votes. I value people because they are made in the image of God. God made the most leftist liberal and the farthest right conservative. He loves them both, and He demands I do the same. I don’t have any other hope – apart from Christ – to offer any person. But gauging my treatment of someone based on their vote all but eliminates my chances of telling them about the One who has changed my life.
Finally, as big as all this seems, I default back to the prophet Isaiah again.
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.” – Isaiah 40:15 & 17.
My God is so much bigger than all of this! If the God I serve is your God as well, then pay attention to the way you plan to live on November 9 just as much, if not more, than what you plan to do on November 8.