Does it really matter who you vote for?

My desire as I wrote Christianity and Politics was to 1) expose the sin many Christians commit when we choose to value more highly political ideologies than healthy, honorable relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, 2) shed light on Scripture that gives us understanding on many political issues that divide us, and 3) call Christians to gain our political allegiance solely from God and His Word. The Bible is replete with insights that answer many of our politically charged questions, like: is our democracy Christian (or can it ever be Christian), how are we to treat, care for and engage the “least of these” in society, where does life begin and where is it found, and how should we view issues like abortion, same-sex “marriage,” universal health care, and embryonic stem cell research as Christians.

I have heard Christians say, “We just need to vote for the lesser of the two evils.” To this statement I ask, “Which party is less evil?” Which party possesses less evil than the other?  After evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each major political party in this country, we discover that each political party is tainted by a worldly political system that promotes ideologies and practices that grieve God’s heart and are considered immoral and unrighteous.

The reality is, no matter how we cast our vote each voting cycle, we are casting our vote in a worldly political system that is not Christian, no matter how many of our laws are guided by biblical principles. And yet, all hope is not lost. While it is true the governing systems around the world were not created by God, Christians who are called by God to work in these man-made institutions can influence their colleagues, the leadership, and even the masses by their life and character (like King David and Joseph).

So, what are we to do this fall and any voting cycle in the future when we help decide who will lead this country for the next four years or two or six?  We are to rest and be at peace! If you pray and ask God to help you know who you are to vote for, I know He will guide you. When God guides you, there is no room to judge another brother or sister in Christ and how they vote. Go, cast your vote, and rest knowing that you have participated in a process that few countries around the world have the privilege of experiencing (telling our government what we want from them, versus the government telling us what they want from us). God is sovereign.  He does not make mistakes, even when we make mistakes. He is faithful to bring to pass His perfect will, even when we are not faithful to do our part (by praying and voting).

I praise God as a Christian that I live in a country that enforces (for the most part) the pillars of our democracy.  I am glad that I can vote for those who lead me, that the laws of this county cannot discriminate against me and that the laws of this country are applied equally to all citizens. But what I am the most encouraged about is being salt and light in this world, which shapes the society around me morally. I believe government has its well-defined role and Christians have our well-defined roles. If we would only live out these roles to the best of our ability (Christians proclaiming and living out ‘thus says the Lord’ and government acting justly toward the people), most of the confusion around politics and the Church would disappear.

What will you do? Will you throw up your hands and conclude you cannot make an impact on the direction our country seems to be going? Will you blame one political party over the other and all who affiliate with that party for the challenges our country faces? Will you exercise your right to vote by studying the candidates–their character, their political record, their work ethic, etc.–and praying for guidance as you go to the polls? Will you choose to be salt and light in this world, no matter the cost? While it will be costly, the results and impact of being salt and light will be well worth the sacrifice!