Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Why I Won't Be Voting This Year

Y'all, it feels altogether brave and stupid to write this post. But I'm writing it anyways. I have a hard time with social media and such during election season. It seems as though people think that it is ok to say whatever they want to say without regards to others' feelings or thoughts. There seems to be a lack of respect for people in general. This greatly grieves me. I don't think that the election is a joke, and I also don't think that it is up to us to tell the entire world everything we think in 140 characters or less. But I do believe that it is important to speak up and not be ashamed of your convictions. 

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
-James 3:10

Here's what I've noticed that makes my skin crawl: it seems as though the American Church (big C because I'm talking about all people who call themselves followers of Christ) believes that every four years is their time to make a difference. Well, I'm calling bull on that. Every single day is our time to make a difference. 

The presidency is a man made idea over which God is completely and totally sovereign. There are many things that happen in our everyday lives and in the over-arching theme of history that surprise us and make us question our faith and all that we know. But God? He's omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. He is Lord of all. He is not shaken by the events of our world. He's actually in the future, completely and totally unruffled by all of the things that threaten to tear our world apart. 

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. - Romans 13:1

There are many different beliefs about the efficacy of voting and whether our votes really "count." In my twenty eight years, I've been on the left and the right. Right now I would confidently say that I'm somewhere in the middle. It's not my job or my goal to sit here and bash each of the two main candidates. There's really no fruit in that. I do, however, want to explain the rationale behind my choice to abstain. 

One thing that keeps coming to mind is that it seems as though we want to pray when things have already gotten bad. When things are rough, we feel the urgency to pray and seek God like never before. But what about when things just seem ok? What do we do then? If we as the Church were committed to praying, fasting, and truly seeking God's face in the midst of changing times, we might begin to see some big things happen. I'm guilty of this, friends. I very nonchalantly lift up a prayer or two for the leaders of our country, but I don't make it a priority as I should.

Many say that we need to vote because if we don't, the candidate that can do "the most damage" will make things awful for us and bring changes from which we will not be able to recover. I can understand this perspective, but I cannot agree with it. In fact, I believe it is rooted in fear. If we are voting for the lesser of two evils and choosing to vote for an agenda instead of a person, we are neglecting to realize that no matter who makes it to the White House, this person will still represent the United States of America to the world. And most likely, the world will see that person, not their agenda or platform, when they look at us. 

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14

When we begin to think that we can place our hopes in the government to change things for us, we are choosing to believe that culture is upstream from the government, when in fact the opposite is true. Politics are downstream from culture. Let me explain (although my husband could do a much better job). Our culture influences politics because it is the people who cry out for change and desire to shake things up. The culture we live in is usually either crying out for something different than what they've seen in the last political administration or hoping that the same policies continue. Politics don't determine how people interact with one another culturally. If I decided to make a lifestyle change which in turn influence someone else to do the same and it had a ripple effect, we would have the opportunity to influence politics, not the other way around. 

As a believer, I believe that it is my calling to make a difference right where I am. I don't place my hopes in the government or a leader to make decisions that will magically change my life. The power of the Holy Spirit WHO RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD lives inside of me. If I am unhappy with the way things are in my life, I can ask the Holy Spirit to give me courage to change them. If I see injustice, I can speak up. If I see poverty, I can lend a hand and be a friend. And if I see people hurting, I can give my time instead of rushing right past them. 

I am neither controlled nor hindered by any governmental system. In everything I do, I am compelled by the love of Christ.

My vote (or lack thereof) on the first Tuesday in November most likely will not be a part of shaping history. I'm not voting because I cannot choose one candidate over another in good conscience without hesitation. My hopes aren't in a political candidate to come and change everything that is wrong. They don't have the power to do that! But when I take the time to create change within my own community, I remember that there is a hope to hold onto, and His name in Jesus. Only Jesus can fix what we have so badly broken. There's no political candidate that I am looking to to change things, because my hope is in Christ. When I wake up on November 9 and see the results, no winner's name is going to change the fact that my God is still on the throne. 

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. - Psalm 20:7

Dear friends, I ask that you use kindness and discretion with any comments you make on this post. Rude and unkind comments will not be tolerated. Please be respectful and seek to understand before posting anything that is not rooted in kindness. Thank you.

Further Reading (from people much smarter and well-spoken than me):

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