On Citizenship and Elections

One week from today our nation will head to the polls.  Due to vote by mail and early voting many already have.  66 million as of this writing.

As a pastor, this has been a uniquely challenging time to lead a group of people.  There are so many strong opinions and deep passions across the political spectrum.  With seven days to go before votes are tabulated, I wanted to give you some thoughts on how we, as God’s Kingdom people, move forward before, and after, November 3.

Focus on Citizenship over Partisanship

Most of us are US citizens.  But for Christ followers, we are “Kingdom of God” citizens first.  The Lord’s rule is over political party affiliation.  We are called to be representatives of God’s principles to a world that is increasingly anti-God.  Kingdom values are bigger than any political party and encompass every issue that effects humanity.    The sanctity of life, care for vulnerable, justice and respect for law, human trafficking, economics, rejection of racism, foster care abuses, and Biblical sexuality are all issues that matter to our Heavenly Father.  And this list is not exhaustive.

The Bible describes us as “ambassadors”.  Like an ambassador to a foreign nation we represent God’s interests here.  This means we try to speak truth, at times even pushing back against politicians we largely agree with when their values diverge from scriptural values.

Consider the Local

In a presidential year, it is easy to focus on the vote for our highest office.  But there are many other candidates and issues on the ballot.  In some ways, local politics can have a far greater impact on our life than those at the federal level.  Spend some time reflecting on how you can reflect God’s values as you cast these votes.

There’s Only One King

Our nation’s founders were clear in the fact that they did not want a King.  Yet in our celebrity driven culture, I am concerned that some have made the presidency a “cult of personality”.  I saw it when Obama was elected. I saw it when Trump was elected.  It is a common human mistake.

We would be wise to remember that Israel wanted a human King – which was not God’s original plan for them.  He was to be their King!

We always seem to want a human king to solve our problems, and we usually wind up disappointed.  It is okay to respect and admire a candidate.  But remember, they are not God.  There is a reason Jesus is the King of kings.

What’s Next?

November 3rd will happen.  Then November 4th.  And 5th.  I am one vote in a nation of 330 million people.  My vote is not inconsequential, but it is only one vote.  My electoral influence is limited.  But with God, my kingdom influence is considerable.

One of the roles of the pastor, and the church, is to consider what the future my look like and then act like God’s people in that future.

Regardless of who is elected on November 3rd, our job will be to continue to live and share the values I mentioned earlier.   It may be easier; it may be harder.  I cannot predict that future.  But I do know with all my heart that God will empower us, if we tether to Him, to thrive as “strangers and aliens” (1 Peter 2:11).

One thing we can do is to pray.  I am setting aside a specific time of prayer this week in our service to pray for our nation.

Push Back Against Hatred

Sadly, in some ways, politics has become “blood-sport” in America.
Besides espousing different values in our words, we need to live them in our actions.
The Apostle Paul lived under an oppressive Roman regime.  He was hunted and persecuted by the religious leaders of the day. And yet, in my favorite chapter in the Bible, Paul said this:

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  On the contrary:
 
‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’
 
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12:17-21


May these words guide us in the days ahead.

3 Comments


Aggie Thompson⁹ - October 27th, 2020 at 8:33pm

Excellent!!

Heather Amis - October 27th, 2020 at 9:11pm

I desperately needed to hear this today. Thank you.

Paula Smith - October 27th, 2020 at 11:45pm

Wonderful words to remind us to whom our allegiance should be given. God is the only one who will never forsake us, but, indeed, gives us His Grace, Mercy and Love.