It was a fine dinner. Many dignitaries and people of high class were in attendance. The gentleman plunged his fork into a piping hot baked potato, and put a reasonable amount into his mouth. It began scalding the inside of his mouth. He instantly spat it out on his plate, to the obvious surprise and displeasure of the others at his table. As the atmosphere of disapproval grew at his apparent break with manners, he said, "Some fools would have swallowed that."
Sometimes you end up having to break with what is widely accepted as normal to keep from endangering yourself and others. On that note...
It is Election Day in America. By all counts, this election has given us the worst possible candidates on both sides of the aisle in recent history, and possibly in the history of our nation. Basically, most people are not voting for their candidate as much as they are voting against the other person. This never ends well. We were made to be for something more than against something. Since most people are not voting for the person they want, they are having to justify their vote.
Ironically, these same people are finding fault with people who don't feel like they can participate in something they feel is wildly dangerous. There are many who are writing in the name of a person they believe would best lead our country. These people are often told that they are throwing away their vote, even though they are voting according to their principles, which is more in the spirit of voting than voting whatever a party tells you you should vote.
Not only are many of the dissatisfied voters finding fault with those who are voting for someone other than the main contenders, they are also finding great fault with those who have decided they cannot in good conscience vote for anyone, whether it is because they don't have confidence in the candidates or they have lost faith in a system that lets criminals and buffoons run for President. This has recently become bullying, where many say that if a person does not vote they should not have a voice in the culture. This of course is unAmerican. The first Amendment includes freedom of speech, but does not protect the speech only of those who vote.
Beyond that, I am seeing pastors and other Christians lay a Pharisaical burden upon those Christians who, for conscience sake do not vote in the election. They are being told by some voting Christians that it is our Christian duty to vote, and if they don't vote against the worst evil they are doing nothing... or worse, they are helping evil prevail. There is a great irony in someone who admittedly votes for a form of evil condemning someone who does not cast a vote for evil, because they feel like not voting for evil is helping evil, while voting for a lesser form of evil is righteous. I mean, if you can get your head around that, congrats! This is sheer spiritual bullying. Nothing less.
The Bible never mentions the idea of voting for elected officials. So there is absolutely, positively no Biblical mandate to vote. But that doesn't mean you can just do whatever you want. I would say that voting is a choice. And the Bible talks a lot about choices. The Bible tells us that God have given us the ability to choose many things. You literally make hundreds if not thousands of choices every day. And for the believers, every one of those is a responsibility. Every choice has consequences, whether it is a choice to eat a box of doughnuts or an apple. The choice of choosing a person of proven character has consequences. Making the choice to approve of a person who is desperately vulgar or exhibits criminal behavior has consequences. Choosing to not participate in utterly broken and false systems has consequences.
The Bible talks a great deal about choices and actions. Everyone is responsible before God for their own choices. But for the believer, there is a greater responsibility because we are here to change the world by living out a Christ-centered worldview and theology. This mindset is radically opposed to that of the world. Some systems are so broken and corrupt that we can't participate in good conscience. That is the nature and purpose of our conscience. It guides us to good choices. At the end of the day, choices do not establish our values... they reveal our values. A vote is a choice. In America, we vote for a person. Whether we like it or not, a vote for a person is a choice for that person's values. That then is a true reflection on our values. That is simply the way it works. So some... many have chosen to not vote for certain values because they aren't their own.
So if a person makes the choice to not vote, are they then doing nothing? Well, only if you believe voting is everything. Frankly, at this stage in the game, with all sides recognizing that there is rampant fraud and rigging in the election system, one's vote does not count as much as it did, or as much as it should. On a good day, everyone admits that. But on a contentious election day, those who vote often suggest that those who don't vote are doing nothing. This is not only illogical, it is ridiculous. You may vote once every four years. That isn't much. But many who make the choice to not do something once every four years are praying every day. They are trusting God every day. They are giving their time, talent, and treasure to serve God and others every day to make this a better place. They are being faithful to their spouse every day. They are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ every day. To suggest that one of these people is doing nothing because they don't check a box for an unqualified candidate that goes against the person's principles... understanding that the vote itself may or may not be counted, is irresponsible at best, and insidious at worst.
The Bible is full of people who obeyed God by 'doing nothing'. The people of Israel stood still and watched God part the Red Sea... while they did nothing. Later they stopped marching and watched God tear down the walls of their enemy... while they did nothing. Later one of their kings led them to a valley and by the order of God did nothing, while He destroyed their enemies. Later a man stood in a den of hungry lions and watched God close their mouths... while he did nothing. His friends were thrown into a fiery furnace, but did not die... while they did nothing. And then there is the story of the man who was betrayed, railroaded, abandoned, nailed to a tree and saved the world... while He did nothing in return. "Doing nothing" is often the way a believer does the most important thing.
Christians are not responsible for the candidates or the winner of an election. We aren't responsible for Presidents, judges, or legislators. We aren't responsible for school superintendents or dog catchers. We are only responsible for our choices. A choice is a vote. We aren't responsible for whether or not we vote. That isn't a mandate. We are responsible for how and why we vote. Are we voting to make people happy or peer pressure? Are we voting out of hate? Are we voting out of duty? Are we making choices out of any other reason than to honor God? Because glorifying God with our choices is the only bar that matters.
The apostle Paul said this about our choices... "Whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Christians are only responsible for their choices, because it is in choosing to follow Jesus and glorify Him that we have the greatest impact in the world. All of the votes in the universe cannot change our culture. But every Christian making choices that rise above the standard of this world will bring God's Kingdom to Earth. Electing officials is not our responsibility. God-honoring choices are.
So if you are led to vote by your conscience, vote according to the Spirit for the glory of God. If you are led to not choose any of the candidates because they don't reflect your Christian worldview and theology, then abstain according to the Spirit for the glory of God.
It is election day. Partake if you like. But don't misjudge the person who spits it out because it is more dangerous for them to swallow.
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My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.