[taken from the Autumn 2016 issue of One-to-One]
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34)
Soon, the United States will face a General Election to determine our next President, as well as many seats in the Senate, House of Representatives, Judgeships, and other state and local races. Every major election in recent memory has been dubbed “the most important in our history”, but many believe 2016 will definitely be a watershed year that could determine the next 20 or more years of national policy. It may well be that the fate of the nation will be sealed in these weeks.
According to many reliable polls, a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Presidential nominees of the two major parties. Other polls indicate that many voters are trying to determine the “lesser of two evils” as opposed to enthusiastically supporting and endorsing a candidate. This is why we see so much negative advertising and vicious mud-slinging. The vitriol in this election season has been the worst in decades. There has been no clear voice from Christians in America regarding the choices this year. Many churches are experiencing significant strain among members due to politics. The fault lines seem to run in many directions; more of a fragmentation than a simple split. Some Christians have even suggested they will sit out this election. But passivity must not be an option!
In this atmosphere, what are we to do? How can we make the best possible decision in a nation where we still have the blessing of freedom to participate in the process? Here are some suggestions regarding our perspective for Election 2016….
Christians should fully engage with the election process and let our voices be heard in the cause of righteousness. But we cannot allow our thinking or speaking to be dictated by fear or rage. We have an anchor of hope that is not rooted in circumstances; we have a King Who is not up for election, Whose Throne is not shaking. He invites us to pray and to act according to His will, but ultimately, He will raise up or cast down rulers. Our trust is in Him.
What are the most important issues facing America today? What crises could arise within the next four years? What are the foundational positions that will affect all of the other decisions? National security? Viable health care? Supreme Court appointees? Tax reform? Job-creation? Abortion? Moral values? Religious freedom? Others? Everyone should study and prioritize the issues that matter most to them personally, and what will shape our nation. This may mean reading or watching a wide variety of reasonably reliable media. Too many networks and sources are now simply shilling for one candidate or the other. It should also mean spending time in prayer and Bible study to gain a spiritual and biblical worldview. As you do, ask the Lord, “What is the difference between personal behavior guidelines and national policy responsibilities?
Certainly, we must study the candidates. Also study the people who surround the candidate. What is their character or experience? What will be their role or influence should the candidate be elected? Which candidate or party is most likely to honor and uphold the United States Constitution and the principles upon which this nation was founded? Or, to put it another way, who is likely to do the least amount of damage to these principles and to our future Some have suggested that “voting your conscience” is impossible this year, or would somehow be a selfish, arrogant act. However, the sanctity of a person’s conscience before God must be respected and upheld. To do otherwise would not only be un-American, but un-Christian. The real issue is simply this: are you sincerely and fervently seeking God? Are you staying clean before Him and listening to His Word? If you will, there is no doubt that God is good enough and big enough to lead you, and you will do the right thing. God bless you, and God save America!
STEPHEN SIMPSON is the Editor of One-to-One Magazine and the Director of CSM Publishing. In addition to publishing ministry, Stephen has served in leadership for churches and ministries in Costa Rica, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Michigan, as well as being the Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Mobile (2004-2013). He continues to travel in ministry across North America and in other nations.