What do we do when others like a candidate that terrifies us or upsets us? With some people, we can share respectfully and they are willing to listen or have a thoughtful, respectful conversation. That is great. But what about times when someone is not open to a respectful dialogue on opposing views? Even when we share something as eternally significant as the gospel, we are to do so “with gentleness and respect” according to Scripture, so if we are sharing personal convictions, I believe that we will also want to have the same demeanor of gentleness and respect.
- Let’s Remember That Each Person Has Free Will.
All grown adults have God-given free will with which they can make decisions and come to conclusions. They are free to believe what they think is best. They can have their own convictions and it is not necessarily my place to try to get them to change their personal convictions. They may support a candidates I would never support. That is reality and I need to be able to accept that not all people will agree with me about who should be elected. My own husband might not agree with me. That is okay. He answers to God for what he does – he does not answer to me. I can still respect that we each have the right to think for ourselves and – in the United States, at least – we each have the right to vote for ourselves.
I can disagree with other people but I don’t have to argue with them. After all, God commands all of us as followers of Christ:
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. Philippians 2:14-16
I can respect that other people have the right to have their own opinions and that they have the right to vote for whomever they wish. I can also vote for whomever I believe would be best for our country. I can pray for God to give other voters His wisdom and to accomplish His will and His purposes through our voting. I can also remember that one person’s vote ultimately is not going to decide an election or political policy and I can humbly acknowledge that I am not personally going to be able to take on Washington.
I’m not sure that having contentious debates about politics would be very productive for our relationships or even for our country. If I am being contentious, self-righteous, prideful, hateful, argumentative, negative, slanderous, or bitter I am maligning the Word of God and undermining my testimony for Christ. My hope is primarily in Jesus, not in politicians. I have to be careful not to set up politicians or political policies as idols in my heart that I trust more than I trust God. Our job as Christian citizens is to vote for the candidate for whom we believe God desires us to vote and then our job is to pray for our president, whomever he/she may be. We are also to treat our government leaders with respect and honor – even if we strongly disagree with them or we did not personally vote for them.
We may have to agree to disagree with some of our dearest friends and relatives. If our views are very different and talking about politics leads to hurt feelings, bitterness, or division in our marriage, it may be wise to call a truce and to keep our personal convictions about politics to ourselves (kind of like God admonishes us to keep our personal religious convictions to ourselves in Romans 14).
- Thankfully, God Is Sovereign and He Ultimately Determines Who Will Rule in Each Country in the World.
We do not carry the weight of who will be elected on our shoulders. It is not our job to try to get everyone to vote for the person we think would be best. We can remember that God will ultimately decide who will be the president, king, or ruler of any given country. Jesus told Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11). God has purposes behind every decision He makes. Sometimes God puts less-than-ideal rulers over nations as judgment on them as we see in the Old Testament. In fact, sometimes He gives a nation what they want in order to teach them how wrong they are – i.e.: with Saul in the Old Testament. He wants us to learn to trust in Him alone, not in a king or ruler that we think would be best. But even so, He can and will use them to accomplish His purposes in that nation and in the world.
- Let’s remember that there is NO human or government alive who can fix the problems our nation faces. Some might make it worse much more quickly, of course. But the problems we have are beyond human solutions.
The United States’ massive debt problem is actually a spiritual problem. Our crime problem is a spiritual problem. Our abortion problem and our drug/alcohol addiction problems are spiritual problems. Our race relations and the way we treat immigrants and migrants are spiritual issues that reveal the priorities of our heart and our love (or lack of love) for God. Even terrorism is a spiritual problem. (Check out how every time Israel rebelled against God, He raised up enemies against them.)
We have turned away from God as a nation. We trust ourselves. We trust the government and politicians. We trust the economy. We think we can handle everything on our own and that we don’t need God. We do not trust and honor God. As long as we continue on this road, we are racing toward our own destruction. We will face internal destruction (from our own sin) and external destruction (from enemies we are too weak to overcome without God’s help). The solution to all of the problems that are way too big for any human or group of humans to solve is that we humbly repent of our sins before the God of the universe and receive Christ.
- Fervent prayer (by obedient, Spirit-filled Christians) for a great movement of the Spirit of God in our churches and in our nations will be more impactful ultimately than impassioned discussions about political solutions.
My arguing will not fix anything. Treaties will not guarantee us anything. Political solutions apart from the power and wisdom of God will only disappoint us. No politician can come through on all of the promises they are making. God alone will never fail us. His promises are sure. God has a plan for this world. His plan will stand. He is HUGE and holds all of the power in the universe. We are small and weak. No one can thwart what He intends to do.
It is possible that we are in the last days and that we are witnessing the Great Apostasy (the great falling away of people from God). This may usher in the 7 years of the Great Tribulation where the whole world bands together against Israel and the world begins to face greater suffering than has ever been seen before. Only God knows the time of Christ’s return. Only He knows if the Great Tribulation is around the corner. We don’t know.
So our job is to pray for salvation for millions and to pray for the repentance of our nation and other nations and even our enemies, that millions and millions might come to Christ and find salvation and healing here and in heaven for eternity.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS TO US AS CITIZENS – Romans 13:1-6:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Suffering and God’s Sovereignty – John Piper (also talks about God’s sovereignty over nations)
The Sovereignty of God in History – from www.bible.org by Bob Diffinbaugh
Posts about Praying Effectively – by Peacefulwife