Over the past year we’ve been challenged to look a lot at the character of the various candidates for the presidency. More and more as we near election day I’ve been forced to look at my own character. When I contemplate how I am reacting and how I will react to the choices we have in this election, I’m learning a bit more about myself. And I’m not impressed.
The passion and temperament that have been rising up in me can only be described as judgmental, in the really ugly connotation of the word. A common sentence in my thought life, and one spoken to those close to me has been, “How can anyone (you) possibly justify voting for …”. The Holy Spirit has prodded me in the last month to step back and try to understand different points of view. Some who I disagree with have taken me to task by asking, “Why do you get so upset with this candidate and you don’t get equally upset with the other candidate?”. Point taken.
What I’ve discovered is that really thoughtful, sincere, people of good will, disagree with me. They too are desperately seeking to do the right thing and stand for what God stands for. They are voting their conscience. And when I’ve haughtily thought my conscience is right and theirs is wrong I’ve usurped God’s rightful place on the throne.
The proverbial thin line has been crossed. Am I a passionate woman with godly convictions or am I a foolish and stubborn Miss Know-it-all? I believe I speak truth when I say both of our presidential candidates have characteristics that are less than ideal for leading our country. (By the way, I’m really proud at how mildly I expressed that last sentence). The reality is that one of them will be the next president and friends and family members are voting for one or the other because they believe the other or the one will be more detrimental to our welfare. And granted, some don’t even consider one the lesser of two evils…they like their choice.
I’ve spent a good amount of time since the primary believing that I can’t with good conscience imagine myself standing before my God and telling him I voted for either one. My conscience screams that the hoped for ends does not justify the means!!! I have friends who believe not voting for either one is irresponsible. I get it.
Romans 13:1 tells us that every person should be in subjection to the governing authorities because there is no authority except God, and those which exist are established by God. Purposes are being carried out in the heavenlies that we’re not privy to! It’s clear in the Bible that God often gives a nation what they want and or deserve. Unfortunately that’s not always a good, wise and kind leader. But it’s also clear that Jesus always makes good for those who love him. One translation: he’ll clean up my character and redirect my loyalty to Him and service to others, in the midst of the country of my birth going to hell in a hand basket. Go ahead, smile…just a little levity to break the tension.
So when presented with a ballot unlike any other ballot in my life time, do I play only the “God’s sovereign card” or do I also play the “I’m salt & light by voting card”? Do I fix my eyes on being the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world? Yes. But can I also choose not to exercise the right to vote for the president, knowing so many have died for that right and so many long to have that right? Yikes. And…I’m in a swing state.
All the contemplation throughout this past year still leads me to areas of gray. The answers to the above questions are just not simple. (Is my conscience being directed by the Holy Spirit or my own bias? Oy). A little over 24 hours until election day and I know I’m voting. I don’t know that I’m voting for president.
What I do know is I can not judge how others vote. That’s progress! I’ll still have an opinion on their vote born of my strongly held convictions. That’s honest! But my opinion will not be a judgement on their good hearts. That’s a relief!
Confession and repentance are really good for the soul. And they’re not bad for relationships either.