If you are a conservative Christian and you are watching the events of the election unfold, you may find yourself in a bit of a moral dilemma regarding your vote. Primarily regarding the fact that on one hand you have a candidate that will seek to implement wide sweep policies counter to your faith. On the other you have someone who half-heartedly supports policies aligning with your faith, but demonstrates a moral character that in no way represents Christian values. And on the policy front, the third-party candidates only offer additional moral compromise. I could use a significant portion of this text diving into the mud explaining why that is the case with the candidates, but I am going to assume that the media has done that for me, you understand the dilemma, and you are seeking God’s guidance on what to do.
So first and foremost, I am not speaking for God. I will however make my humble attempt at explaining how I have come to my upcoming voting decision and pray that it is pleasing to God. Though I fail time and time again, I do seek God’s wisdom and try to live a life that is pleasing to him. And though for many reasons I agree with the separation of Church and state at a national level and value the freedom of religion this great country has provided as a result, I can’t compartmentalize them as a Christian on an individual level. My vote, though private, is as much a reflection of my faith as any other action I may choose to take. So with that, I must seek to please God with my vote.
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. – 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
I must warn you that I am an obsessive thinker to a fault. So the amount of effort I put into thinking about decisions such as this bridges upon a laughable ridiculousness. Where I mentally wander to with things like this is a place that I believe many of us do. We want to be intellectually and faith founded in our decision so when given a moral dilemma such as this, we journey into the “greater good” world. I have gone so far as to chart numerous policies and positions of candidates and estimate sin or Christian moral impact if implemented to arrive at a net impact type metric to found a decision on. I only wish I was kidding. And though I know you are now curious of what that looked like, I am not sure that graduated scales of ethics, graded Christian morality, or evaluating Biblical shades of gray is what God requires or even desires in any decision.
whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. – 1 John 2:6
So let me first say that I think there may be some scriptural support in the Old Testament for “greater good” type scenarios. However, for the ones I am able to find, God seems to be providing specific direction as to what to do. If you feel that God is clearly and unequivocally telling you who to vote for, then you have your answer. But for those Christians that do not find themselves with that clear direction, I think we must do our best to imitate Christ.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
Jesus in his time on Earth did not sin and it is he that we are to imitate. Sin based on the original language is defined as “missing the mark”. It isn’t just violating a commandment, but it is demonstrating any behavior or action that misses the perfect life of Christ (the mark). So voting or supporting someone who supports policies that kill unborn babies would be “missing the mark”. Voting or supporting someone who participates in “locker room talk”, whether jokingly or in action, regarding the sexual assault of women is “missing the mark”. I also don’t think there is any strong evidence of repentance, change of heart, or even a sincere apology regarding this past act. So I can only conclude that voting for candidates on the current ticket is a sin and we are called to be like Christ who did not sin. But what about the “greater good”?
In looking at the life of Christ I can imagine scenarios where Christ could have committed one sin for an earthly “greater good”. With his omnipotence he could foresee those that would go on to persecute and kill Christians in mass or those that would deceive and lead people away from the gospel in mass. Couldn’t he have used one strategic murder, lie, or sin for an earthly “greater good”? And yet despite this, He chose to remain sinless and thank God for that.
I think our desire to make “greater good” decisions and ultimately justify a single sinful vote, is because we are concerned about the direction of our country and perhaps temporarily lack faith in God’s plan. We have to keep in mind that the Government cannot enforce Christianity nor do I think they should. They couldn’t possibly do it if they wanted to nor can they keep me from sharing the gospel. Christianity is a personal decision that each of us have to make and as Christians we can always choose to be faithful to Christ despite the political or social landscape we find ourselves in. It could become increasingly harder, unpopular, or even worse. However, we must consider the faithfulness of persecuted Christian brothers and sisters all around the world. So we should imitate Christ, have faith, and seek to not sin in all situations. So what choice does this leave regarding the vote?
I guess a “no vote” could be an option but I do not take this amazing country we live in for granted. I believe it is our civic duty to vote so I will be writing in a candidate that I believe God would be proud of. I suppose nobody is perfect, but I believe there are more faithful choices grounded in their Christianity. The immediate response to this is that you are “wasting your vote” and perhaps mathematically even contributing to the win of an undesired candidate leading to undesired outcomes. I would suggest this is “greater good” thinking that will result in a sinful vote. I will seek to not sin in my vote, to imitate Christ, and to have faith that God is in control and that I can remain faithful to him despite how the country I live in might change.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5