How to vote…

I’m not an American (thought I’d best mention that upfront), but because I’ve lived in the US and have American friends, I am really interested in the US election.

It’s an undeniably unique event in so many different ways. A business man with (reportedly) limited hands-on political experience goes head to head with the wife of a former notorious President.  

It sounds like the stuff of movies, but for once, this is real life.

I follow both main candidates on Twitter and it’s clear there’s not too much love between them. They were formerly acquaintances who attended business functions and graced wedding dance floors together, but now it appears to be muskets at dawn.  

From the Wikileaks expose of private email servers to secret video tapes of misogynistic behaviour…ouch.  I’m actually really glad that I don’t have a speaking part in this election.  

But not too long ago, the UK was also asked to vote, but on a referendum; the results of which had the power to change all of our lives.  

Right up to the day before, so many people seemed torn and unclear of which way to vote.  The political shouting from both campaign sides was getting louder and seemingly more in-your-face.   For some, it was a really confusing time. 

Up until about a week before the vote, I was undecided too.  On one hand, I had received a robust (nicely printed) leaflet from the government outlining the reasons to stay in the EU, and on the other, I’d listened to the Leave campaign and considered what they were saying too.  In such an important vote, it seemed only right to give both arguments a fair hearing. 

So, when we have to make an important choice in a vote or election, who should we listen to?

Well, alas, I can’t answer that question, or tell anyone else what they should do. I don’t have any kind of political experience which qualifies me to do that…but I can jot down a few ideas on how I eventually arrived at what I believe  was the right choice for me.

Whose report will you believe?  

There’s a Ron Kenoly worship song called Whose report will you believe? As far as I can tell, it’s loosely taken from Isaiah 53, but the song goes;

Whose report will you believe?

We shall believe the report of the Lord.

We’re surrounded by reports, each featuring one political angle or another. 

One minute I can watch the news and feel sure I know what’s true, and then I can scroll through Twitter and realise how wrong I am.

We’re in a world of information overload and choosing ‘whose report’ to believe is a tricky task. I’ve started to watch and/or read the news and, a little like grace before a meal, ask God to shine a light on the truth…let me get a gentle nudge in the guts when I hear a snippet of truth.  

Fear is not a good motivator

Don’t be ruled by fear. Fear of what might or might not happen is a really bad way to decide how to vote. Vote because of something positive, not because you’re afraid something will or won’t happen if you do/don’t.   

The ‘obvious choice’ isn’t always the best choice.

When it came to picking Kings and rulers in the Bible, God always seemed to make the strangest and unlikeliest of choices. He picked the young, skinny, harp-playing shepherd kid to be the King of Israel, a jumpy, angst-ridden man to lead the Jewish people through the desert, and a child born from a line of philanderers to be the Saviour of the world.

It can be easy to be swayed by the charisma of the people representing each view, but God doesn’t always pick the most obvious person/solution for the job to come. 

Finally, I’ve been reading (and thinking about) 2 Corinthians recently. This bit jumped out at me this morning;

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:5‬ ‭NIV)

Listen carefully to what all sides are saying. Will their argument ultimately lead to a country/system which sets itself up against the knowledge of God?  

Will the elected candidate’s leadership lead to more generosity, more faith, more justice?

If you’re voting on Nov 8, don’t be swayed by what the TV tells you. 

Better to ask God for His guidance. He knows what’s best for your country and for the world.