25 Feb Words of Grace – Discipleship in the Voting Booth
As a pastor, it is not my role to tell you who to vote for in an election. It is my responsibility to help followers of Jesus who live in a democratic society understand how voting can be an exercise in Christian discipleship.
Official church endorsement of a candidate in an election is a violation of the laws that apply to non-profit organizations. Grace Community Church does not endorse particular candidates in an election. We do, however, encourage Christians to think and pray about how they will vote.
As Christians we believe in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. The future belongs to him. He is working now through his church in ways that no human government can do. We do not believe that any human government will bring to us the kingdom of God and the rule of grace. Our hope is in the Lord.
We also believe that the lordship of Jesus Christ extends to all areas of life. We believe that Christ’s lordship in our lives leads us to carry out the civic responsibility of voting in a way that honors him. In other words, our faith in Christ shapes the way we vote.
How can you carry your discipleship into the voting booth during this season of primary and general elections?
First, ask yourself some questions. Do you understand that the ability to participate in the political process by casting a vote is a gift given to you by God and that you are a steward of that gift? When you step into the voting booth, are you doing so as a follower of Christ who is carrying out the two great commandments to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself”? Are you seeking to serve the greater good of others by casting your vote? Have you been a good steward by learning about the candidates’ character, competence and core convictions from which they will govern?
We are Christians and our citizenship is in heaven. That means we pray, think, and decide on a candidate as disciples of Jesus and stewards of the opportunity we have been given.
Second, ask questions about the candidates. Ask the character question. Do the candidates demonstrate the moral character needed to govern with integrity and trust? Are there known moral character deficiencies in a candidate that will distract from his or her ability to lead?
Ask the competence question. Do the candidates give evidence of having the intellect, skills and disciplines needed to fulfill the responsibilities of the office? Can the candidates administer the affairs of a nation, work with the other branches of government, lead the military, and make good appointments to other areas of service?
Ask the conviction question. Do the candidates possess a set of core convictions that reflect what God has revealed in the Bible to be good for all people? This does not mean that the candidate should seek to “Christianize” America. There are values in the Bible that are for the common good. Among them are the respect for all human life at all stages or maturity, the rule of law, religious liberty, and freedom for people to earn a living and own property. Do the candidates give evidence that they have these and other common good convictions, and that they will pursue policies and make appointments accordingly?
If asking these and other important questions seems overly rigorous, just remember that you are a follower of Jesus Christ with the opportunity to bring goodness and justice to others in our nation and around the world by casting a vote.
Let us pray that the Lord will be gracious and merciful to us in this election season. Let us do our best to understand who the candidates are and how they will govern. And let us be wise disciples as we cast our vote.