Thoughts On The Election
We're almost to the finish line and we're all exhausted. The presidential campaign has produced two main candidates with the highest negatives in history. The coarseness and vulgarity of public discourse has reached a new and disturbing low. The healthy and faithful reaction to all of this is confusion, frustration and yes, even despair. What to do?
I have never believed in clergy endorsements of candidates. You won't find one here. I have never believed in the notion of “Christian Candidate” or a “Christian political party” My hero in this line of thought is Abraham Lincoln who did more to dissuade the prideful attitude of believing “God is on my side” than any other figure in American political history. Lincoln was able to see goodness and faithfulness even in his Confederate opponents whom he was busy trying to trounce on the battlefield. Christians should hold their political convictions with a healthy dose of humility. Humility has all but disappeared from our civic discourse. But let it be our defining mark.
Our United Methodist Confession of Faith says, “We believe it is the duty of Christian citizens to give moral strength and purpose to their respective governments through sober, righteous and godly living.” The best thing we can do for our government is to promote godly lives of generosity and personal integrity. The survival of our Constitution depends upon a morally serious citizenry—something that is sadly slipping away. Here is an indictment: the quality of presidential candidates is a reflection of the moral state of our population—or as Jesus put it—bad trees won't produce good fruit. The unique social role of the church is the moral formation of people. If we don't do this, no one else will. This points to the need to evangelize the unbelieving and the disconnected. What our country needs more than anything else is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It points to the need for prayer.
As your pastor, I call upon you to vote. You may be discouraged about the presidential race but remember there are 28 other contests and 1 proposal on the Michigan ballot that seek your decision. I might add that you will find 6 names on the presidential ballot—not just 2. C.S. Lewis once observed that the devil's strategy is never to get good people to do evil but to get good people to do nothing. It's the devil who counsels you to sit this election out. It's Jesus who says: Be salt. Be light. Make a difference. Participate! Make your best choice and mark your ballot.
A fatal temptation for many is to unwittingly put their ultimate faith in some candidate or some “ism”. Such idolatry is discouraged in scripture: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3) Now more than ever we need to trust in the Lord of history. Let him be our confidence and security. Here's the Biblical formula for renewing society which re-focuses our faith on the right object: 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)
In Hope and Confidence,
Pastor Tom Anderson