This column is written with some degree of concern that some might misunderstand my motives. I don’t mix politics and religion from my church pulpit, and I realize this twice-monthly effort is a pulpit of sorts. But I will express my concerns about country from a Christian perspective in private conversation. So, since I’m just talking to you, dear reader, I want to express some of my thoughts – from a Christian viewpoint - about the elections that are now barely a week away. I’m confident everyone reading it loves the people of the United States of America. I’m sure that, like God, you love the people of the world. If you didn’t, you might not be reading this.
So, let me say, FIRST of all, that scripture is pretty clear about the attitude Christians are to strive for with regard to government officials, whether elected, appointed or however they attained the positions they occupy. Consider:
_ We’re to be in submission to even the worst of them. (Rom.13:1ff; Tit.3:1; Pr.24:21f) Some would suggest there are exceptions, and that may be. “Submission” may be too strong for independence minded citizens, the heirs of those who rebelled against the abuses of the English crown. But Paul did say something about submitting ourselves to the governing authorities.
_ Our “respect” for them includes faithfulness in paying taxes (Matt 22:17-21; Rom.13:8), as galling as that may be sometimes. Remember that Jesus didn’t tell Matthew or Zacchaeus to stop collecting taxes; his moral teaching and example led them be honest in their work (Luke 19:8).
_ We’re to actually demonstrate respect for them as those made in God’s image, as well as the position they occupy. (1Pet.2:17; 2Pet.2:10) This is especially difficult sometimes, but we need to try our Christian best. If first century Christian slaves were commanded to “obey [their] earthly masters with respect and fear and with sincerity of heart, just as [they] would obey Christ,” isn’t the parallel with government obvious?
SECOND, these national, state and local elections are, due to the issues and concerns involved, some of the most vital in a long, long time, some suggest in the last 50 or more years! This may sound very partisan, but I honestly don’t intend it to be. No political party is free from human failings, and all elections are important; but some more so than others.
THIRD, I beg you to ignore the thinking and comments of those who, for whatever reason(s) choose not to vote, especially if they say “It doesn’t do any good.” And don’t forget to vote (intelligently, of course), no matter how big a ribbon you have to tie around your finger! Casting a ballot is such a rare and wonderful privilege we dare not abandon it. To do so is close to the top of foolishness from a citizenship standpoint. In point of fact, we ought to thank our God we live where it is possible. Many insist it does no good. But who is wise enough to know that? Certainly not I!
What about you?