As we go to vote on Wednesday I thought it may be worth thinking about how we, as Christians, should approach elections and voting. I’m not trying (to the best of my knowledge) to push any particular political agenda. I simply want to encourage all of us to vote, and to vote with the correct perspective and attitude.
So I’ve got 5 suggestions on “how to vote”…
1. Vote joyfully!
As you vote on Wednesday do so with a grateful heart. Thank God that we live in a country where all people: male, female, black, white, etc. can cast their vote. Remember, this wasn’t the case less than 30 years ago! So exercise your democratic right in this, your country, and enjoy the freedom that is yours. Be thankful to God for how far He has brought South Africa, and celebrate another “free and fair” election by marking your own “X”. Vote joyfully!
2. Vote wisely!
At the same time, as you mark your “X”, do it with the appropriate level of responsibility and wisdom. Take your constitutional right seriously – think and pray long and hard about which candidates are best, which parties are worthy, which policies are desirable, and so on. Your vote is private, only the Lord will know how you vote (unless of course you tell someone…), so prayerfully make up your own mind about who to vote for. Look for godly characteristics in leaders, look for solid election manifestos, look for robust policies and practices, and so on. And then ask God to give you wisdom to choose well (James 1:5). Vote wisely!
3. Vote humbly!
Just as you enjoy your own democratic right to vote, respect the rights of others. Even as Christians, we are likely to support different political parties from others in our church, fellowship group, or even family! So let’s respect one another and avoid being judgmental (James 4:11). We vote on our own consciences, before the Lord, and so we vote humbly before Him. By all means enter discussions and even healthy debates, but avoid slander, mocking, anger and arrogance. Ultimately, we need to accept the result and submit to the elected leaders (Rom 13:1). Vote humbly!
4. Vote evangelstically!
Use these elections to talk to your friends, families and neighbours about the privilege of voting. Talk about the joy it is to participate in elections, and about how far God has brought us as a nation (Deut 6:6-9). Point those who are confused or anxious or even angry to the sovereign God who puts governments in place and also removes governments (Rom 13:1). Talk about your ultimate trust being in the God who saves rather than in people, systems and governments. Lastly, pray for our leaders so that our country will benefit and many people may be saved (1 Tim 2:1-4).
5. Vote eternally!
Finally, know that as you vote – as significant as that is – it is nothing in the grand sweep of eternity. Don’t get fixated on the things of this temporary, fleeting world (1 Cor 7:29-31). Don’t put your ultimate hope and trust in parties or people. Put your hope and trust in Jesus – the only truly good and upright ruler and Lord. Kingdoms and principalities and governments are fallen and temporary, only the Kingdom of God remains for eternity (Heb 1:8). So vote with “a loose grip”, knowing that God is sovereign and Jesus is reigning. In the end Jesus wins and so do those who put their faith in Him. Jesus is LORD! Vote “eternally”!
I hope this is of some help. Go make your mark with gladness and trust in the Lord, then enjoy the public holiday!