The election cycle is among us and, if you’re like me, your media outlets are filled with political chatter. Between ads approving candidates, news outlets bashing and praising various policies, and social media friends and followers boldly letting you know who they are voting for, it’s difficult to find anyone who isn’t at least somewhat interested in the polls. This is for good reason. We live in an amazing country and have the privilege to vote for change and vote our consciences.
While Christians are among those who tend to take sides during elections, if we aren’t careful we could end up unintentionally fostering contempt and bitterness between ourselves and those who support the opposing party or candidate.
While it is most certain that Christians should stand in support and opposition for various moral issues that God speaks toward, Christians should pause and consider the potential outcomes from publicly endorsing a specific candidate during elections. Here are three important thoughts worth considering:
While we should never cower in standing for morality, Christians must remember there is a difference between raising a banner of truth and elevating a candidate on a pedestal. Endorsing Jesus is always greater and more effective than any candidate endorsement.
If publicly endorsing a candidate will cause people to resent you and potentially damage your effectiveness for the Gospel, is it worth it?
Everybody has flaws. It’s difficult to endorse someone fully, when you may agree with some or most of what they do, while the rest leaves you having to defend why you approve of those things as a Christian. Of course Christians should vote, and there never will be a perfect candidate.
But, could publicly endorsing a candidate cause me to place a stumbling block in front of others? Could some of the candidate’s actions or beliefs be seen as hypocritical while being attached to the name of Christ?
We all long for someone to fix our problems. This is nothing new. Israel demanded an earthly king to rule them, thinking that would fix their problems. In reality their issues were rooted in their failure to obey the Lord.
1 Samuel 8:19-20 records their demands to Samuel, “The people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We must have a king over us. Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.’”
This is exactly what we want, isn’t it? We want a politician to fix everything. However, as a king wasn’t the answer for Israel’s issues, a king or politician isn’t the REAL answer for us. The only true answer to problems in society is that people need Jesus and they need to be discipled.
What if you sought to share the Gospel as much as you hit the share button every time your favorite candidate posts? What if you desired to share biblical truth with others in public as eagerly as you desire to share the latest political gossip?
As we move toward the upcoming elections in the months ahead, let us all remember Paul’s words to Timothy,
“First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” – 1 Tim. 2:1-2
Let’s all pray for our politicians and leaders, while remembering as Christians to lead tranquil and quiet (i.e., gentle and devoted) lives in all godliness and dignity.
GJ Farmer is pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church and a member of the KBC Public Affairs committee.