How I Can Respect Your Vote, Even If I Disagree With It

Is it just me or do opposing political viewpoints seem to aggravate us more this year than in any other election year in recent memory?

So much seems to be hanging in the balance, doesn’t it? Many of us have a sense of impending doom that if–God forbid–the other candidate is elected, our way of life, our country, even our world, could be headed for irrevocable disaster. Many feel that if we blow this chance and elect the wrong person, all is lost and our land of the free and home of the brave will be forever ruined. I believe the stakes are high; we are at a crossroads in our country with not only widely divergent philosophies of governance to be chosen, but two potential leaders who are equally abhorred by the other camp.

But rather than view one another as enemies, let me offer some perspective that might help.

First, as a believer in Jesus Christ who holds a high view of the Bible, I begin with the assumption that God is sovereign over rulers, kings, and countries. The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, writes that God “changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.” In addition, God uses ‘good’ and ‘bad’ kings, (and queens), to bring about His sovereign blessing–or judgment–to nations.

God’s sovereignty, however, doesn’t absolve us of responsibility as citizens, as 1 Timothy 2:2 says we are to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life.” Understanding that God’s sovereignty works through our prayers and civic responsibility, we can rest assured that the final word as to who is the next President of the United States is in God’s hands–not ours, the electoral college, the GOP or the DNC. God removes kings and sets up kings. 

Secondly, we need to remember that most voters love their country and want the best for the United States and the world–we all just have different opinions as to how that will be achieved. Some may vote for Trump, some may vote for Clinton, and some–like me–will vote 3rd (or 4th or 5th) party. But rather than accuse people with opposing views (family members? friends?) that they are mentally deficient or are in danger of losing their salvation, we need to trust that they will vote according to their best judgment.

If we are Christians, we need to remember that God used Cyrus, a Gentile king, to bring blessing to His people. God’s even been known to use donkeys to speak truth if need be. And on November 9th, after all the dust has settled, we can be sure that whoever is headed to the Oval Office is someone God will use for His purposes.

David French said last week that “with rage spiraling out of proportion to the underlying offense, Americans are willing to sacrifice vital cultural values for the most fleeting, short-term gains.”

We need to look back at our founding principles, and look forward to the long-term of the good of the country.

As a special nation made up of different ethnicities, languages, and religions, our country was founded upon the truth that all people are created equal in the sight of God and have unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We need to take a breath and remember these things. And this works itself out on Facebook. And Twitter. And around the office cooler.

Practically speaking, this means that when we hear of or read opposing viewpoints, we may respectfully disagree, but allow that our fellow citizens still have the right to think and vote according to their consciences–without mean-spirited attacks, or not-so-subtle questions about their patriotism, IQ, or salvation. And if we’re not the perpetrators of vitriol, we certainly can choose to either inflame or deescalate a contentious discussion. Let us attempt to bring peace to the discussion. Tone matters.

Politics runs downstream from culture. In other words, the fact that we even have the candidates we have–for better or worse–says more about us than about them. They are a reflection of our culture and who we are. So rather than worry about how fit or unfit the candidates are for office, maybe we should look in the mirror and ask how fit we are as neighbors, citizens, and leaders in our own communities. Then we need to pray for our country–and vote.


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