Vote, But Don’t Shame Others.

It’s finally here: Election Day!

Many of us have already made it to the polls today to cast our vote for the midterm elections. Others mailed in their ballots early. Some people plan on going after work. Whatever the case, I personally want to thank you for using your voice to stand up for local issues. Regardless of what you may think, your vote does matter.

I’m somewhat relieved that today marks the end of countless unsolicited text messages urging me to vote for Candidate So-and-So, or visits at home from campaign supporters pushing flyers into my face. It’ll be nice to drive somewhere and not have to see dozens of campaign posters littering the sidewalks. I’m especially happy that there will no longer be commercials on TV that don’t necessarily focus on issues that we face, but rather strive to personally attack the opposing candidates. I’ve never understood how people could find these commercials useful or informative; to me, attacking a person’s character says more about you than them.

As Christians, we need to be mindful of our words and actions before, during, and after the election season.

I have witnessed countless people who claim Christianity out of their mouths, but when it comes to politics, they have wholly abandoned the way that Jesus set before us. Even elected politicians seem to “identify” with Christianity, but that can be misleading. Identifying with the Christian faith does not make you a Christ-follower. Believing that Jesus is your Savior and died for your sins, obeying His commands, living a repentant life, and striving to be more and more Christlike each and every day makes you a Christ-follower.

A perfect (and relevant) example of this would be the founding fathers. Many times, we as Christians like to use the founding fathers as validation for our political beliefs. However, I don’t think that many people have truly taken time to study the authenticity of the founding fathers’ Christianity. Many of the founding fathers held very unchristian values. Benjamin Franklin was a sexual deviant. Gouverneur Morris’ main lady was married to another man. Alexander Hamilton also committed adultery. Most of the founding fathers used violence as a primary tool to make political strides, and Jefferson was known for essentially copying and pasting Scriptures to create a religious ideology.

Basically, the ways that Jesus taught us through His Word were compromised in order gain political power, and it still happens today.

As Christians, we (along with everyone else) begin to align ourselves with political parties. As this happens, we need to stop and consider who and what Jesus would align himself with. This doesn’t mean that we make assumptions or vote for someone simply because they are claiming Christianity. We must turn to the Bible and investigate what God is interested in. Even a short glance into the gospels reveals that in Jesus’ way, God’s closeness has absolutely nothing to do with political power, and everything to do with alleviating suffering and addressing the concerns of the downtrodden.

When Jesus summed up the law, He said that it was about loving God and loving people. Instead, too many of us are institutionalizing God and subjugating people.

I challenge you to put on your “Christian lens” first and view politics and voting from a Christian perspective, not the other way around. When we place politics before Jesus, it is easy for us to then justify an enormous amount of political positions using scripture. Most importantly, heed Jesus’ command during this election season.

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are to also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34

Love one another. Love your neighbors, regardless of who they’ve voted for or why. Before you post that political rant or share that campaign video, take a minute and ask yourself if the content you’re about to share is loving toward others who have different political views as you. Are you vote-shaming them simply because they didn’t vote for the same person you did? Are you showing God’s love to others when you post or say what you do? If your actions are not loving toward others, then you should reconsider them.

Remember, Jesus never used His name to gain political power or favor. We shouldn’t either.

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