Feel free to copy and distribute this handout to those at your flagpole.
Unlike people living under repressive regimes and autocratic governments, we citizens of the United States have the privilege and duty to nominate and elect our own leaders, or to run for office ourselves if we feel so inclined. It is not hyperbole to say that men have bled and died to defend our rights to participate in the political process in this country. Therefore, we have an obligation to be partakers in the process; both to honor their sacrifices, and to ensure a free and secure society for ourselves and our progeny.
So how do we vote in a way that is pleasing to God, promotes the welfare of our society and furthers His kingdom? There are several passages in the Bible that address this issue, but let’s look at one in the Old Testament and one in the New. In the book of Exodus, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro advises him how to select judges and leaders from the people of Israel.
Now listen to me; I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God; men of truth who hate dishonest gain, and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you.– Exodus 18:19-23
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul lays out qualifications for the selection of elders in the church.
It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.– 1 Timothy 3:1-7
If these are the standards God sets for elders who would lead his flock, does it not stand to reason that these attributes would be just as important when choosing men and women to serve as leaders in our government?
It is understood that there is no perfect person, and certainly no perfect candidate for public office. We all have our flaws and have made plenty of mistakes. But these passages tell us to seek out individuals of character – people whose lives and actions reflect their professed beliefs. When it comes to voting, actions speak louder than words, and we should be very attentive to the way a man or woman has lived out their lives.
When confronted with two imperfect candidates, we need to size up their platforms and their actions against the scriptures. Do they promote biblical values, or are they hostile to the ways of God? Do they just give lip service to righteousness, or do they act and legislate in the fear of the Lord? Seek answers in your Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and cast your vote accordingly. And then continually pray for whoever is elected, resting in the knowledge that it is Jesus Christ who is Lord of lords and King of kings!
For one of the best presentations we’ve seen on the intersection of Chritianity and politics, please watch this video by Pastor Rafael Cruz.