The election season is upon us as we head down the final month until the election. Although the presidential election always seems to be divisive, this time it is perhaps worse than ever.
I cannot say I follow politics that closely but it seems that this election for many voters is as much about not wanting the other candidate as it is about actually wanting the candidate they will ultimately vote for.
In their October issue, Christianity Today published a series of articles where arguments were made for Clinton, Trump, and neither, so it would seem that even the Christian world is divided on what the right choice is.
I am not going to tell you who you should vote for – even if I wanted to I do not see this column as an appropriate place to do so. What I do want to share is some biblical perspectives that I would hope Christians can agree upon.
First of all, we do not need to feel anxious about the ultimate result. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 1:17, speaking of Jesus, says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Verses like these (and there are others to make the case) would suggest that whatever happens, we can have peace in our hearts because it is the kingdom of God that really matters. That is not to say that we should not care or that our country will not suffer the consequences of bad decisions, just that we do not need to be anxious about it.
A second principle is that we need to pray for whoever is elected -- not only for the presidency but all our leaders. In 1 Timothy 2, Paul directly says that we should make petitions, prayers, intercession and even thanksgiving for kings and all those in authority. He writes this at a time when Nero – not a very nice guy – was emperor of Rome.
In Jeremiah 29, a letter to the exiles in Babylon is recorded that begins in the first part of verse 4 with “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says” and then continues in verse 7 to say “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.”
The exiles were being told to pray for the country that had destroyed theirs and taken them captive. Those type of exhortations concerning governments, I think it is safe to say, were worse than anything the upcoming election might produce, should prompt us to be praying for not only the election process but for the leaders it produces and our country in general.
Finally, we need to remember that we are called to love everyone, be they Trump supporters, Clinton supporters or “anyone else” supporters.