white-houseBeryl and I just dropped off our election ballots in this campaign season featuring two very controversial candidates.

Like most Americans, we have found the issues surrounding the main candidates to be so divisive that we found it extremely difficult to determine who to vote for. As a result, I won’t pretend to simplify it by saying who I think anyone should vote for. I respect everyone’s struggle as a personal one.

But, in the cases of you who have yet to vote, I would like to mention how Beryl and I processed things, in the hopes it may help you reach your own decision.

I summarize our response as citizens of this country and as citizens of God’s Kingdom this way: Act, speak and trust.

1. We Act

Beryl and I have questioned not only whom we vote for, but whether we vote at all. Abstaining out of conviction is an option, and it has the potential of conveying a message, especially if unusually large numbers of voters do so. But in our case, rather than avoid any personal responsibility in the end result, we felt a civic duty (and privilege) to participate and to let our choices be known. Not only for the slot of president, but for a host of local issues.

2. We Speak

How to make a choice? Polls clearly demonstrate that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the least popular candidates for their respective parties in modern history. We need to decide if the possible upside of either outweighs their evident downsides.

In addition, they are not the only options to consider. There are a multitude of Libertarian, Independent and other candidates; and a write-in candidate is also a way to voice one’s opinion. No, none of these others will win. But sometimes speaking is more about making our voice heard than it is about changing the end result.

In making our choice we wanted to be guided by Micah 6:8:

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Which action or vote on our part would most closely demonstrate this kind of spirit? That’s what Beryl and I tried to find.

3. We Trust

In the end, we reminded ourselves of the position that we are actually voting for. We are not nominating Senior Pastor. We’re voting for a fallible Chief Executive of a flawed system.

It’s unlikely, in fact, probably even implausible, that either of the two primary candidates would fulfill our hopes for bringing about increased qualities of the Kingdom of God on earth. So we set that expectation aside.

In the end, our hope and trust is not based on Clinton, Trump nor on any other candidate on the list. Will this future president affect many political and moral issues in the coming years? Absolutely. Will they struggle mightily to get any of their preferences through a very divided Congress? It sure looks like it. Is it likely that at the end of their term our opinion will be something along the lines of “Well, that was disappointing”? Yes. Does he or she have the final say in the unfolding story of God’s purposes on earth? Not even close.

A favorite Psalm of mine is 20:7, 8:

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.”

I usually apply these verses this way: Some of us are prone to trusting technology; others of us place our confidence in sheer effort or strength. Ultimately both of these will prove unreliable. It will be those who trust in God who remain standing.

In this case, we might apply the passage as: Some tend to trust Republicans and some tend to trust Democrats, but in the end, they will prove all too human and their weaknesses will be evident for all to see. Ultimately, we trust in the name of the Lord our God, who is the one who is truly sovereign. Ultimately, he is in charge and will bring about his redemptive purposes on earth in his timing, no matter who is in the Oval Office.

We’re standing on that hope.

“And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” My advice as you consider whether and how to vote? Act, speak, trust.

14 Comments

  1. Nicely said Craig….

  2. My boss Franklin Graham, perhaps said it best. “Your vote us for the next 25 years of SCOTUS decisions. Choose prayerfully.” I know who HRC will nominate to the court. And they will violate my deepest held beliefs. Easy choice for me this election.

  3. Thanks Craig….Sandy and I had some of the same struggles. In the end my politics have simplified. One candidate is for expanding abortion to fully developed babies. The other is opposed. I must vote to stop, slow down and certainly to not expand this travesty! If Mr. Trump does not abide by his stated position then that is between him and God and he will pay the price. We stand with his position on abortion.

  4. It will be the first election I voted for someone to prevent another candidate from winning because of what they believe.

    Ultimately, our God is in control and His will will prevail. In that one fact I rest my anxious and even sad heart. This election has been about two very flawed candidates and we very much need God’s Spirit to guide us indeed, as we always do. It is certainly not a choice of voting for the one who is least flawed. There are also some moral issues to consider that are important to our God and should be to us as well…abortion, lying often publicly, the Supreme Court, and the pervasive insertion of government into our healthcare system to name a few.

    For those who consider not voting for a man who has openly conducted himself in sexually abominable ways, the alternative is voting for another man (Bill) as first husband to again occupy the White House who openly conducted himself in sexually abominable ways.

    We so much need to know the mind of God to know how to vote, as we are all flawed like them too.

    So thankful for the Cross and Jesus Christ, my Savior.

  5. I am so deeply disappointed and profoundly depressed that this great nation can do no better than Hillary and Donald.

    I in good conscience could NEVER vote for Clinton. She is an evil, bitter, manipulating liar. She has some relevant experience but her character speaks for itself. She cannot be trusted. She has been constantly cloaked in controversy, shady deals and criminal investigations since she and Bill were in Arkansas. She has been deft to elude prosecution, but we all now she is guilty of at least some of these wrongdoings. She is a criminal that evidently does not have the ability to show remorse or compassion. Her stands on the sanctity of life are enough to make it easy to not even consider her for my vote.

    When I look at Trump I see an arrogant, narcissistic man that cannot control his tongue. It reminds me of the Book of James and how the tongue is like the rudder of a mighty ship, or the bit in a wild stallion. It literally makes me ill to think of Donald as a world leader – can you imagine him at a “sensitive” G8 summit where careful diplomacy is essential? He does not demonstrate the essential ability of self-control – a prerequisite for a wise president.

    What to do? I really don’t know. I haven’t decided. I believe Trump’s mouth has probably already cost him the election. So is my vote important in determining the outcome? Or is it better to cast a vote for an independent candidate, as a protest vote, when in many ways it becomes a wasted vote. I do believe both parties are broken and that a third party would be in some ways curative.

    Donald actually does have a chance, slim at best. Colorado could play a very significant role in a scenario where Trump won the election. In effect, it means our votes in Colorado have much more leverage and potentially significantly more weight than a state that will go predictably red or blue. If Donald could sweep the swing states he could win. Here is a link that shows how he could do it.

    http://www.270towin.com/maps/W39kg

    I agree with Craig. Voting is a right and privilege paid for with the blood of patriots and heroes. We need to vote to honor those sacrifices.

    I’ve rambled, apologies. But I am really torn up about this travesty we call an election. I had a good friend tell me I have to look past the candidates and vote the party platform I most believe in. That is easy. The difficulty is living with the knowledge that I voted for Trump.

    In parting here is a link that shows what Donald plans to do in his first 100 days in office.

    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/10/22/donald-trump-contract-american-voter-100-days-5338007/

    I will likely relinquish my dignity and vote for Trump – it won’t be easy. We can only pray that if he is elected that the sheer gravitas of the “mantle of president” will change him; and that he would surround himself with very wise leaders and advisors.

    In Christ,

    Ron

  6. I agree with Greg Matthews above. Franklin Graham has been articulate this election season. If you support life and pro-life SCOTUS judges, Mr Trump is your choice. Our pastors, Christian and church leaders have been quite silent this election cycle. Looking for more to step forward and engage, as Franklin Graham has suggested!

  7. Thanks Craig. Teaching someone how to think is so much better than offering to do someone’s thinking for them. Great piece; great leadership.

  8. Great comments and process, Craig. Thank you for sharing. We must remember that choosing not to vote (choose) is a choice to leave the decision to others. As you said, the government cannot save us. But government is an institution ordained by God that has a profound impact on our lives as Christians. Not only should we seriously reflect upon our Christian values and pray to vote accordingly, but we should also prayerfully do our part to protect our religious freedoms to fulfill the Great Commission. I found reading and comparing the party platforms to be an enlightening exercise. They stand in stark contrast to one another and have historically guided (although not 100%) voting by elected officials at all levels of government.

    In Colorado we also have a number of constitutional amendments on the ballot that clearly test our Christian values. As citizens of heaven living in Colorado, we should care deeply about them as well and do our part to live out the transforming power of the Gospel here in our state.

  9. Full disclosure — I’m not American and have lived in Europe most of my adult life. So this post may sound like pinko commie propaganda to some. Skip this post if that will cause you to sin. 🙂
    1. Well, it is a Trump landslide if the “Pergrine Poll” is accurate!
    2. Since abortion has generally gone down since 1990 (including non-stop decline under Obama, but a slight increase under GW Bush), can someone explain how this Supreme Court thing is the issue above all issues? What have Reagan, and Bush Sr and Jr done to overturn Roe vs Wade? http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/graphusabrate.html
    3. James Harshaw — your assertion that “moral issues… that are important to our God” include “the pervasive insertion of government into our healthcare system” is striking, and, I would say, without biblical basis. Many evangelicals (outside of America, and increasingly inside — i.e. younger evangelicals) would say that health care for the poor is very much a moral issue — pro-life even. Jesus (and the OT Law and Prophets) spoke a lot about the poor, but not a lot about reducing government. What’s your case?
    4. Does anyone but me find is embarrassing/shameful that Mormons (in Utah) seem to have a more sensitive moral compass and willingness to vote on conviction (McMullin) than we who claim to be truly God’s people?

    • I appreciate your perspective. Particularly point #3.

  10. Craig, I want to say thank you for this thoughtful post, and once more, thank you for your words of wisdom and compelling message and encouragement to our men at the PAVC earlier this month. It’s definitely a temptation in any election, but maybe especially in this one, to seek a ‘Messiah’ in our candidates of choice. Always a good reminder as to who is actually in charge!

    “In these closing weeks before the election, all American Christians should repent, fast, and pray—no matter how we vote. And we should hold on to hope—not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus.” — A similar conclusion, albeit from a different perspective, from the executive editor of Christianity Today. Full article here: http://bit.ly/2dGBQaV

  11. Hey, all, thank you for contributing to the conversation. We can disagree and still respect one another. Clearly we face a challenging landscape ahead of us; including after the election.

  12. Congrats Craig!! I am very happy for you and all the Cub fans that have patiently waited so long. I was a series for the ages; baseball at its finest. Happy for you bro.

    Ron

    • It was a classic for the ages, Ron.

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