In a previous post, I explained why I absolutely refused to vote for Obama or Romney. Today is a brand new day and we have the same old president but, after watching and reading many Christians as they discussed this election, I’d like to explore two attitudes I found pervasive and particularly disturbing. First, most of the Christians I talked to were thinking like Republicans, not Christians. And second, fear seemed to be a greater motivator than faith.
Thinking like Republicans, not Christians
I can’t tell you how many Christians were convinced that our only option—nay, our only hope!—was to vote for Mitt Romney because…well… he was the Republican candidate. Did Christians have no other possible course of action? Based on what I’ve heard and read, we actually don’t! It sounded to me like our only hope hinged on the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election!
Equally disturbing was the mentality that the last thing we could possibly do was vote for a third party candidate. That might require us to maintain our integrity and do something unpopular and likely to fail! Instead, our only option was to capitulate to the slightly better of two undesirable choices—one a liar, the other a deceiver—for the sake of political expediency.
In short, our goal wasn’t to support the best, most desirable candidate; our goal was simply to knock Obama out of the White House. We weren’t thinking about the Kingdom of God and we certainly weren’t concerned with maintaining our integrity, we were merely concerned about the good ol’ USA.
The truth is, God has not called us to win elections in His great Name; God has called us to transform our culture and that begins in our neighborhoods not the courtrooms. Our faith is to be placed in Christ’s atoning work on our behalf, not the legislative performance of our elected officials. Do you think God cares that abortion is legal or that abortion happens? Do you think God cares that our system is corrupt and greedy or that our hearts are corrupt and greedy? My point is, instead of trying to change the laws of the land, we need to try and change the hearts of ourselves and our neighbors. But what fueled this perception?
Operating from fear, not faith.
The reason we had no choice is because, let’s face it, we are all afraid of Obama—especially because he no longer has to worry about being re-elected and has nothing to lose. (And if Obama doesn’t worry you, then I don’t think you pay very much attention.) None of the Christians I heard or read were reasoning from a place of faith in God. They were arguing from fear of Obama. It wasn’t “in God we trust,” it was “in Obama we fear.”
I never heard anyone say, “I have approached the throne of God with this issue and feel compelled to vote for Romney.” It was more like, “Well, the last thing we want is 4 more years of Obama” or even, “Remember folks, ABO: Anybody but Obama!” We were like Peter when he tried to walk on water (Matthew 14:29-31). We took our eyes off Christ and began to look at the storm and the crashing waves. We got scared. But I don’t think it has to be this way.
Every time I watch a documentary with lions, hyenas, or other predators, I always wonder what would happen if the bison (or zebras or gazelles or whatever) stood their ground or, better yet, stampeded the predators. While it’s certainly likely that some of the bisons would be injured or die, it seems even more likely that the lions would realize they were outnumbered 50-to-1 and retreat. There are entire food chains that are perpetuated by fear and the perception of helplessness. In the same way, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Christians stood their ground or—*gasp*—actually unified.
So, I challenge all three of the people who will read this to ask themselves two questions when engaging in politics. First, will you maintain your integrity or will you compromise? I challenge you, instead of bending to the pressures of the world around us, to stand firm in your convictions and vote for the candidate you actually believe will be best for our nation. Second, will you walk in faith or fear? Christ calls us sheep; let’s put our faith in the Good Shepherd and stick together. Let’s stand up to the wolves because we trust in our Shepherd’s ability to protect us. And finally, let’s pray for those who have been elected. Let’s pray that God will guide their heart of our president and all our elected officials.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord ; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)