In response to the back and forth about who is the better candidate to vote for in this year’s election, I thought I’d give my two cents. Please keep in mind that the post below was written back on October 22, 2008. The issues in the 2020 elections are different but the reasoning stays the same.
I would like to start with what I had read in the article “What is God Like?” by Gary F. Zeolla.
God is the One who orders human history.
- He is responsible for the rise and fall of nations and kingdoms (Dan 2:21; Rom 13:1).
- He appoints the rulers of nations and deposes them (Dan 4:17).
- God uses nations and their leaders to accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 45:1-7; Prov 21:1; Hab 1:1-11).
- And God’s purposes are never thwarted (Psalm 33:11; 115:3; Isaiah 14:26f).
- It is folly for anyone to think they can overthrow His authority (Psalm 2; 2Chron 20:6).
God is in control of the individual, human destinies.
- God gave men and women the ability to obey Him (Gen 2:16f).
- When humankind fell, it was a total fall (Gen 3).
- The will, intellect, and emotions became corrupted (Matt 15:19).
- Hence, all humankind is now in rebellion against God and stand condemned before Him (Rom 1:18-23; 3:10-19).
As the Bible states, we are totally depraved. This is why if we are truly honest with ourselves, often when we give our opinion it usually comes from an innate, selfish desire and need – not a selfless one. Also, often we presume to be speaking on behalf of God. I think that if we are truly honest, we will admit that our opinions are almost always affected by our upbringing, circumstances, life experiences or selfish desires and pride. These differ for each and every individual.
For e.g., I have a desire to care for the poor and orphaned children around the world. This is a totally personal desire but it is so important to me that it colors my political views. Knowing personally what a difference we can make when we invest in the life of a child without hope (hard as it may be), it upsets me to see so little being done for them. As much as writing a check to get help for them is important, there is also a real need for sacrificing and truly investing personally into children in need.
Read the facts: 143 million are orphaned today around the world. That’s almost equal to half of the population of the United States! Can you imagine if one out of every two Americans was a child living on the streets, living in absolute hopelessness and despair? These children arm in arm would stretch more than 4 times around the world!
I read the following statistics… that happens every single hour!
- 1,625 children were forced to live on the streets by the death or abuse of an adult
- 1,667 children under the age of five died from malnutrition and vaccine-preventable diseases
- 115 children became prostitutes
- 66 children under 15 were infected with HIV
- 257 children were orphaned because of HIV/AIDS
With these appalling numbers, it seems so frivolous from my point of view, to argue about abortion. Unless we can also care for the children already alive, which is so dear to God’s heart (and I can send you many Scriptures proving this point), why are we fighting about abortion? Let us personally bring life to one of these jeopardized little ones and not let them die. Otherwise we who stand by and enjoy our comfortable lives, are as guilty as of murder. Choosing life is important, but how I am making that choice in my own personal life is far more important before God. Some of you might disagree with me and that’s okay because you come from your life experiences, your understanding of the Bible and your personal desires just as I do mine.
How about when it comes to talking about war? We wax eloquent about the horrors of the war and the false pretexts under which it has happened and the thousands of innocent lives that were taken by these useless leaders. That’s all well and good if I have been personally involved in helping those affected by the war. How much of my time, effort, and money is where my mouth is? Am I just a big talker for an immensely popular cause or do I truly care for those who are hurting? Also, how much of time over the past 7 years have I personally spent in prayer for our leaders involved, the soldiers and the innocent people caught in the middle as opposed to the time I spend talking about its horrors? Before God my actions matter more. If I have vested interests in the war – someone in my family is hurt, or had to go for their third term to Iraq, of course my perspective will be very different to the ones comfortably sitting at home untouched and debating. My highest respect to those personally affected by the war, but to the rest of us, unless we are ready to roll up our sleeves, sacrifice our lives and step in, we are just talking and that’s pointless.
Similarly, people feel so strongly that they must talk in a big way about protecting the environment and preventing global warming, and that one candidate or the other supports that. But what matters is, what am I doing as an individual to help this cause? Am I a conscious conservationist daily? Do I close the tap to conserve water each time I brush my teeth? Do I turn the lights off? Do I drive a smaller, more efficient vehicle? Do I use cloth bags at the grocery store instead of plastic bags? Or am I just a big talker – sounding good about environmental issues and that my choice of candidate supports that when I truly don’t care? Also, is it so important to spend millions on protecting the earth while we let the millions suffer and die in poverty, suffering and despair? Do we really have the right perspective?
Another example: consider a retired Senior who has lost half of his/her retirement money and is struggling to make ends meet with not much time or hope of recovery for the future. Or perhaps another with no medical insurance (this hit home heavily as I underwent emergency dental treatment this past week which has cost me over $6000. Thank God Peter has a job and that we will somehow have to pay it off. What if he didn’t and I still needed this treatment? This might be the difference between food on the table and my medical needs.) That person is going to approach life with the view that the current government’s policies are totally wrong and has caused them to be in this mess, so they might want a different party in power hoping for recovery. That person may not have the bandwidth to consider whether a candidate is pro-life or pro-choice, liberal or conservative but only, who can help me have enough for the next few years of my life or who will give me better medical coverage. That person’s position will be very different to another who has a comfortable job, great insurance or who has not lost much even in this economy. So who would I be to judge that retiree on their choice of candidate just because it does not fit in with my lifestyle? Would I have made a similar choice had I lost most of my lifesavings?
I wrote this because it has become fairly tiresome in social circles, workplaces as well as on TV to see people standing on one side or the other, snickering or looking down on their opponents. It is silly to see all the so-called “intellectuals” act so superior and smirky as they support their “Change” candidate while on the other side to see the “conservatives” pretending that their candidate is the epitome of Biblical truth. Barrack Obama might be young, attractive, intelligent, liberal, and change oriented, while John McCain may be older, wiser, conservative, maverick, and experienced. So what? Are we kidding ourselves that God really cares who we think should be elected? Does He really consider any of the qualities that I am personally so impressed with for change? We forget that He brought about one of the greatest historical “Changes” through a stuttering, stumbling shepherd – Moses and not the well educated Prince of Egypt.
I think the bottom line is that we must believe that God is ultimately in charge of the world, the US, our state, county, city, neighborhood, our home and us as individuals. I think that’s the hard part – we want to think we are in charge and that our vote makes all the difference. The candidates are all politicians who will say or do anything to get my vote. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” Rom.3:23. We are debating about the better of two fallen human beings and two parties full of fallen people. We can debate these issues as much as we want but, as proud as we might be about our own personal wisdom and stand, we being human, are always going to approach them from our own personal life experiences and desires and not from a selfless, godly point of view. Bottom line either way, we probably do not represent God, or care about God’s interests.
I have heard the argument that the person in charge can create godly policies. How does a ban on gay marriage turn anyone’s heart towards God? Only individuals showing godly love will do that. Without God, what difference does it make if a person is in a gay marriage or not? How do antiwar policies still hold if there is a need to protect the country? Because if war is wrong and killing innocent lives are wrong, it should be wrong no matter what. So, why was the first Gulf war justified while the second one not? Should we not turn our other cheek when attacked? That’s silly for a country to do. I think war is a decision made by leaders with the information they have. Whether they make mistakes or not, God is still in control. No amount of protests or anger has changed the fact that the war has gone on for years. What if next year we withdraw the troops and then we have several more attacks which hit personally, would we then justify war? Then it would not be that I am anti-war but more pro-personal safety, pro-convenience.
I believe that we truly bring about CHANGE through personal sacrifice, care and godly love – not through huge policy changes. As far as I know, Mahatma Gandhi didn’t hold any official position in the Indian government, yet, he brought about so much change in India. So it was with Martin Luther King Jr. Both died through their efforts to bring about change.
Who I vote for does not define me as a person, nor does it my faith. That is only defined by my faith and trust in God’s saving grace through the person of Jesus. As we heard our pastor say, there are people who desire to honor God on both sides of the aisle. Let’s prayerfully cast our ballot on November 4, 2008 knowing that God is still on His throne. We are commanded by Jesus not to judge anyone and that only if we are without sin we can cast the first stone against either candidate or his supporters. As we pray, we can ask God to guide us to the candidate He wants us to vote for. That’s the beauty of a democracy and a God who is still on His throne. Let’s pray for all who seek leadership and for God’s will and rule to be established, let’s even pray for President Bush (mistakes and all) as he leaves office – that’s our duty as believers in Jesus.
In His grace,