Who does God want you to vote for? Should you even get involved in politics if Jesus himself isn’t running for office? What’s the best way to be part of America’s imperfect political system? The right answer isn’t abandoning the political process; it’s engaging it in a way that honors God.
Last Tuesday at the Porch we finished up the Adulting series by talking about standing for righteousness in politics. This is important for anyone to do, but especially our generation. As of 2015, Millennials are the biggest voting-eligible segment of the U.S. population, which means that we could have the largest role of anyone in influencing our nation’s direction. It’s a responsibility we can’t take lightly. So how would God have us engage politically?
Government isn’t the solution to our problems, but it does have a legitimate role to play in our world. It’s not our savior, but it shouldn’t be our sworn enemy either. God has laid out clear responsibilities for governments and citizens – check out Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17, and Titus 3:1. The government should be just and fair, and citizens are to respectfully submit to its leadership. But where the government oversteps its bounds or becomes corrupt, the Bible also gives guidance on obeying God rather than man, especially when the government tries to stop people from sharing God’s truth.
You also should be locked in on the issues that matter to God and that our government influences. The Bible has something to say about things like abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, and economics. You need to understand God’s perspective and be able to share with with others.
No matter what happens, the right perspective is to keep trusting God. The most important thing to know is that God is still King, and the government rests on His shoulders. He will judge righteously at the time He appoints, and He’s the one who holds things steady when it feels like our world is falling apart (Psalm 75:2–3). Don’t panic; trust God and pray.
People can be reluctant to talk about politics, since opinions are all over the map and emotions get heated quickly – look no further than Facebook or Twitter, or any of the candidates’ debates. But it shouldn’t feel like an all-out assault when you have these conversations. We’re ambassadors, not invaders. So here are a few principles to guide you in talking politics.
Preserve your witness. Bitterness, anger, brawling, or slander should have no place in your speech or actions. Instead, be peaceful, considerate, and gentle. You want people to be left with an impression of Christ when they talk with you, not a bad taste in their mouths.
Speak the truth in love. Don’t shy away from it – God wants you to teach others what He’s commanded. But you’re not trying to impose your beliefs on anyone; you’re making a divine proposal that there’s a better way to live. Give good reasons for what you believe, but do it with gentleness and respect.
Share (and live) the gospel. As Todd said on Tuesday, the way to change a country is to change its citizenry. And the way to change the citizenry is to proclaim Christ with your life and words in every way. It’s the power of the gospel that changes lives, hearts, and minds.
Nearly 50% of Millennials are not engaged politically at all. Of those who are engaged in some way, many are simply “slacktivists” who might sign an online petition or “like” an issue on Facebook without actually getting involved.
So – vote! We need to fight apathy and take action. Our country’s leaders are not chosen by people who have the RIGHT to vote; they are chosen by people who ACTUALLY vote. You may not have a deep interest in politics, but part of being an adult is being a good citizen – one who has a healthy sense of responsibility to be involved in politics.
In voting, you are delegating your right to rule to someone else, and you shouldn’t be apathetic about that. You need to care deeply about who your rulers are, and you want to know who (or what) rules your ruler. Don’t vote for compromised people without a moral compass. You are never throwing your vote away when you stand for righteousness in voting for a moral leader or for righteousness. Vote for someone who understands the law of the harvest, that we will reap what we sow.
Beyond voting, ask God how He might use you to fight unrighteousness and seek the good of the city that you live in. He may want you to run for office. Or share the gospel with your neighbor or co-worker. Or mentor an at-risk child. Or use your weekend to be on mission in your city. Those may not all feel like political actions, but they are, since they are focusing on the welfare of citizens, which is what being political should be all about.
How are you engaging politically?
Watermark’s “Declaration” series
Todd Wagner’s blog