Heads up: I’m going to talk about politics. But don’t freak out yet–I ain’t gonna talk about candidates or parties or ideologies. I’m gonna talk about why we, as Christians, should care.
When I was a kid, we moved a lot. I never really set down roots–and frankly, there are some definite advantages to having lived a bunch of different places. I say this because, when I was little, I couldn’t see them. Now, after watching how my children have developed living in the same house for as long as they can remember, I find myself mourning the things they haven’t had. Hopefully, we can balance out some of that stability with a little flexibility now that they’re older.
Military brats and other people who moved a lot when they were young know that it’s hard to move past that mentality, even if you settle down someplace when you’re an adult. There’s a sort of itch to move on and a constant impermanence in your relationships. I mean, I love my friends here! I’ve been friends with a lot of them for a lot of years, and I’m sure I would stay in contact with a lot of them. But if I were to move, I think it would be easier on me than on someone who isn’t practiced in leaving people behind.
I find this mentality also spills over into my house. We’ve lived here for almost 8 years and we still haven’t put pictures on the walls in every room. It was just this year that we finally got around to doing it in our dining room. There were practical concerns like the fact that my kids played ball in that room. However, frankly, it was more a case of subconsciously not wanting to be tied down. Just the thought of living in one place for so long makes me feel gross.
What does this have to do with politics? I’m glad you asked 😉 I was recently reading this passage: Jer. 29:4-7 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
On the one hand, we aren’t in exile. But on the other, we kind of are. We live God’s kingdom even while we’re living in another country. We all long for Jesus’ return. We long for peace and deliverance. There’s a sense in which we’re all avoiding settling down because this isn’t our true home. But having the right president isn’t going to bring peace and deliverance. Jesus is the only world leader who can do that. For now, we’re here, and, since we live here, we have a responsibility to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city [or country]… [and] pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, [we] too will prosper.”
I’ve heard various people talking on Facebook and in articles about how Christians can’t vote for someone to be president in this election because of the candidates’ characters. It’s a hard decision. And if you’ve prayed about voting for our president and have prayed for our country and you believe that’s the best way to seek the prosperity of our country, do what God leads you to do. The main thing I firmly believe is the wrong thing to do in this situation is to be apathetic and ignorant. We live here. We’re granted a lot of pretty awesome benefits from living in the U.S.A. Do we wish it was more like Jesus’ kingdom? Yes. But just like the Jews wanted Jesus to rescue them from outside political influence, I think we have to realize we’re not going to get God’s kingdom on earth until God actually comes to earth to rule. True peace isn’t going to show up in a human kingdom–regardless of who is in charge.
We live here. We can’t afford to ignore the election. We can’t afford to vote party lines or whichever candidate has prettier hair. Every election, my husband and I get a copy of our ballot off the county website and then sit down and skim through the candidates’ webpages (yes, even the county treasurer–EVERYONE on the ballot). We take notes on which people align most closely with the things Scripture is clear on and the things that are just our personal preferences. And then we actually go to our polling place and vote. Not because we believe we can create an ideal world but because we live here. We want to seek the prosperity of our country because if it falls apart that will affect us.
So please, take the time to be an informed voter. Even if your conscience won’t let you vote for any of the presidential candidates then go vote for the other things on your ballot. Prayerfully do what you believe is best for where you live.