When election season rolls around, Christians tend to go to one of two extremes. For some, the election becomes all-consuming. It’s all that matters. The fate of the nation hangs in the balance with every vote cast.
Others view the election with distaste. They do all they can to avoid and ignore it. It seems too messy, too far from the purity and simplicity of Jesus.
We have to ask ourselves: Is there a better way? Should Christians vote? Would Jesus vote?
Jesus gave direction for how Christians should relate to politics and culture in the Sermon on the Mount. He told us to be His salt and light (Matthew 5:13–14). As “salt” in the world, Christ calls us to influence our culture rather than isolate ourselves from it.
Remember, salt was a preservative In Jesus’ day. It couldn’t prevent the decay of meat, but it could delay the decay. Christians should preserve the spiritual and moral fabric of society, wherever God has placed us.
But salt can’t preserve meat unless it first gets out of the salt shaker and penetrates the meat. God has given Christians in democratic countries a unique way to “salt” the culture that Christians in other times and places did not have.
We have been granted the freedom to choose our leaders by voting. As John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said: God has “given us the privilege of choosing our leaders in this Christian nation.”
With great privilege comes great responsibility. It’s our job to vote for the candidate and the party whose policies will best contribute to the common good.
Leaders shape the values of a nation through the policies they enact. That means that Christians should work to select leaders who will govern according to God’s principles and seek to advance the cause of righteousness. This is an answer for the Christian who wants to avoid elections altogether.
But to Christians who view elections as all-important, there’s a caution in order. Don’t forget that for a Christian, political change is not the ultimate goal. Politics is important because it can help us continue pursuing our true goals.
The Christian’s highest calling is to show the light of Christ to the world. We do that by sharing the good news of God’s forgiveness which comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Earthly governments can either hinder or facilitate that proclamation.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2 that we should pray for governing authorities to basically leave us alone and practice our faith. In Paul’s day, all you could do was pray for civil authorities. But today we have the opportunity to actually select leaders who will give us the freedom to practice our faith.
Christians aren’t called to save America. We’re called to save Americans from God’s judgment by sharing the good news of Christ’s forgiveness.
So, yes, Christians have both the right and responsibility to vote in this election. But remember why you’re doing it and what the ultimate purpose voting serves.
What America needs most is not a politician or a party. We need a genuine spiritual revival that only God can bring.