To vote is a Responsibility and a Privilege

Romans 13:1 “there is no authority except that which God has established.”
The United States will vote on Tuesday, November 6th. It is a scarey time no matter who you support but regardless…

I want to share with you all today the importance of getting out to vote and how important it is – as Christians. Now we have been preached at for years about NOT mixing politics and religion – church and state, you know. Did you know that originated to keep the government out of church business, not the other way around. And for us Christians, faith is part of our lives, every aspect of our lives. So, why should we cordon off politics from our faith?  The truth of the matter is many Christians today don’t know how their faith affects their vote.
Instead of shying away from the issue, Let’s look at how all Christians should vote (in my humble thoughts). No, I’m not going to come out and say vote Republican or vote Democrat. That would be too easy … and too polarizing.

First, we must remember that “we are commanded to be “aliens and strangers” in this world because our “citizenship is in heaven” (I Peter 2:11, Philippians 3:20).  At the same time, we are citizens also of this country, of our states, of our cities and towns. We do owe our fellow citizens our input, our decree of what is best for our area and our nation.

Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” ~ Jeremiah 29:7  This is our duty as Christians – our Judeo-Christians and our heritage. What Jeremiah is telling us here is that we must seek peace and create a space – a place where we can prosper, where the atmosphere, the conditions are right that the average (wo)man can support himself/herself and family and give back to their church or synagogue and community so that the Lord’s word can be spread and so we can share this word with all – in safety and freedom.

As I peruse the social media, the news, conversations with others I wonder, “Have we lost all civility during election season? Everything you read on social media and the news is so severely mean and divisive. Politics has become so polarized today you cannot even stop at the store or drop by the donut shop without being told to choose who you’re going to vote for. Between all the smear campaigns and negative ads, we have lost the ability to have conversations with respect and humility And I am speaking of Christians and people who profess to hold dear to their ethical and moral characters.  It is beyond belief what some people will say and do to try to persuade others. I actually am severely limiting my actions and reflections on the social media to just hello’s and spiritual talk and television is quickly becoming a thing of the past in our household. We stopped watching the major channels years ago due to the lack of any guidance or good moral content. And now, because I have become extremely upset at some of the things I have seen and read that I am not going to get on the social media until the middle of next week and maybe not even then, at least not like I used to. It just has put a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure that many are feeling these same effects.

People post political views on Facebook, and then people complain about other people’s views because they don’t agree. I’m sure thousands of people have been “unfriended” (sometimes literally) because of what they post on Facebook. As Christians, we should remind ourselves to be peaceable and respectful. Be above the rhetoric of rabble-rousing.

You should know where each candidate stands on a myriad of issues. If you don’t inform yourself, then you are merely becoming the type of person who gets swayed by negative ads. You need to develop your own filter so you can evaluate the things you hear in debates and ads

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Part of the problem is too many Christians have become One-Issue Voters, and once they encounter a candidate who doesn’t agree with them on the hot-button issue, then they stop listening and stop learning.   Perhaps your One-Issue is abortion or same-sex marriage or the economy or foreign policy. I know of a woman whose One-Issue is stem cell research. You never know what that issue may be to different people.

The fundamental problem with being a One-Issue Voter is your president doesn’t just vote on that one issue. If you vote for a candidate because of his stance on marriage, then you’re also voting for his policies on the economy, health care and the environment.

We all have our hot spots – those issues that really move us. You shouldn’t ignore the issues you feel strongly about; and you should feel passionate about “your issues” – study them, research them. Christians should pursue what the Bible has to say about these issues like abortion and poverty. Don’t vote ignorantly, vote informed. So, when you cast your vote, understand how your vote is cast along the broad spectrum of issues, not just one.

“ Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” ~ Titus 3:1-2
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~ Proverbs 31:8-9

Whether you advocate for the unborn, those in poverty, or those at war … or all of them. Don’t simply vote for whomever will give you the best tax break or the best health plan; also use your vote to bless others and be careful through research of platforms what that entails.

Again, the very foundation of our faith lies in the advocacy of Christ. II Corinthians 8:9 states, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”  Jesus became our Advocate by taking on our poverty and making us rich. He took on the poverty of our sinfulness and gave us his rich righteousness. For this reason, we are called to advocate for others. Most politicians, regardless of party, are rich by our standards. Which one(s) use or have used their wealth to help others, to spread morality throughout the nation and other places as well.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.” ~ Zechariah 7:10

Whether you vote for Obama or Romney, one of these men will be the leader of our country. And regardless of how you feel about them, you are called to pray for them.
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” ~ I Timothy 2:1-3

Pray for whom to vote. Pray for the issues, all of the issues. Pray for peace among the parties. Pray for those who need a voice. Pray for whomever wins, regardless of who that is!
In fact, if you haven’t been praying for the person or party with which you disagree, then let the first time you open your mouth be in prayer to God, not in criticism to others.

I remember the election in 1984 (although just a babe – haha), Reagan won 49 of 50 states and garnered 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13. As the incumbent president, I don’t think that election was about hope as much as this one is. I don’t think people were so concerned about their future being better, because they were pretty happy with their present!

This election, however, is about hope. The rhetoric among the parties is about who will raise America out of the recession, who will create new jobs, who will change the trajectory of our nation in the world at large.

But, as Christians, we need to realize we need to Vote Without Hope. Don’t place your hope in any one person. Ultimately, whoever wins will not deliver on every promise. Neither candidate will be able to accomplish everything they intend. And in four years, we will probably be using the rhetoric of hope once again to nominate new presidential candidates.

However, we can Vote WITH Hope. That is because we believe in a God who is sovereign over the president and Congress and supreme over the Supreme Court. He does look over them even when they and we turn our heads.
Proverbs 21:1 reminds that “the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord.” What a promise! God is in control. In fact, Romans 13:1 tells us “there is no authority except that which God has established.”

No matter who wins and whether “your guy” wins or loses, you can hope in our God who is the ultimate ruler of nations. So, whether you agree with where we are going as a nation or not, rest assured you can hope in the literal “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:6).

Pray for the redemption of our nations; pray for a leader who can bring us Home!

May God bless you!

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