During the message on Sunday I shared that this week I would provide some guidance regarding the upcoming election, and so here you go.
I will begin by reiterating that I and the other leaders of Harmony never publicly endorse political candidates. We don’t, because, while we all care deeply about our country and about this election in particular, it’s not our job to tell you whom to vote for, but rather to point you to what God’s Word has to say about government and politics, and then to allow you to discern for yourself, under the guidance of Holy Spirit, for whom you should cast your vote.
So, with that said, let me give you five Biblical principles to keep in mind as you prayerfully consider Election Day 2016.
1. As Christians we should be thankful for our country and the freedoms we experience here.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, the Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. While there are many reasons to be concerned about the direction of our country, there are also many reasons to be thankful for it. As Americans, we have been blessed with unprecedented freedoms; freedoms that have allowed most (perhaps all?) of us to live comfortable lives where we have the opportunity to thrive not only materially, but much more importantly, spiritually. So, I encourage you (if your conscience allows), to vote in the upcoming election with a spirit of gratitude towards God for the privilege of calling America your home.
2. As Christians we should approach the election and its aftermath in faith, not fear.
There has been a lot of fear mongering in the presidential campaign, and to be honest a good deal of it has come from Christians. However, brothers and sisters, we have no reason to fear. The Bible is clear (see Proverbs 21:1 and 1 Peter 2:13 in particular) that God is sovereign over all government figures and that no matter who is in charge politically, he is going to accomplish his purposes (see Isaiah 46:8-11).
Furthermore, as believers we need to trust that God’s purposes are good (Romans 8:28-29) and that no matter how bad things look politically, everything will be all right as long as we keep our eyes on Him. I think the words of Hebrews 12:2-3 are especially appropriate here:
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV)
It seems as if many Christians are growing weary and fainthearted these days; could that be because they are looking for salvation from a political leader rather than from Jesus? May that not be the case for us; instead, may we face the days ahead in faith, with our eyes focused squarely on Him.
3. As Christians we should give one another space & grace.
As a heads up, this might be the most difficult point to swallow (although I’m hoping it might also the most freeing). Who we vote for in an election isn’t a gospel issue. What I mean by this is that Christians can disagree on whom to vote for without separating from one another.
One of the most discouraging things in this whole election cycle (circus?) has been the incredible lack of grace that Christians have shown one another at times. It’s disconcerting to hear people question another’s Christianity because they support an opposing candidate.
So, we can certainly question, in love, why someone would vote for a particular candidate, but we shouldn’t question their salvation because they do so. Our salvation doesn’t depend on our political affiliation, and any time we even give a hint of an idea that it does, we have moved away from the true gospel and into very dangerous and damaging territory.
Instead, let’s give others space to conscientiously cast their vote, and give grace if we disagree on the tertiary matter of politics. Please hear me when I say that this doesn’t mean political matters are unimportant, because they certainly are, it just means they’re not a matter for us to fight about.
Finally, let remind you of what Jesus says in Matthew 12:36-37 and John 13:35 as you consider how to interact with other believers on this issue:
I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37 ESV)
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35 ESV)
4. We should pray for and honor our current president and whoever the next one will be.
The New Testament is clear that we are to not only pray for our government leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3) but also to honor them (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). When considering these instructions, we have to remember that the government leaders in the 1st century weren’t Christians (by a long shot), and were by all accounts incredibly hostile, not only to Christianity, but also to morality in general. To put it bluntly, most of them make our current presidential candidates look like angels in comparison. And yet, Paul and Peter (and Jesus as well) called the Christians in the 1st century to not only accept their leadership, but also to submit to them and give them the honor they are due.
5. We should seek God’s kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
I hope you haven’t taken from everything I’ve said that this election doesn’t matter. I hope you also understand that I believe that our freedoms are important, and ultimately the direction of American is important. However, with that said, while we should be concerned about the good of America, we should be more concerned about the good of God’s kingdom. In other words, we should be more passionate about preaching the gospel, making disciples, and ministering to the poor and needy than we are about things like the economy, healthcare, gun control, and education.
Here’s why; the solution to our country’s (and world’s) problems won’t be found in a better economy or cheaper health insurance, but rather in Jesus Christ. He is the hope of the world, and there is no other one to be found. So, let’s pray for our country. Let’s vote. Let’s get involved politically. But most of all, let’s trust in Jesus and do whatever we can to help others trust in him as well.
"So, let’s pray for our country. Let’s vote. Let’s get involved politically. But most of all, let’s trust in Jesus and do whatever we can to help others trust in him as well."
 I recently heard a fellow pastor use this phrase in a slightly different way.