10/22/08

How to Choose a President--It's Tough!

This is going to be longer than usual, but it’s a crucial topic for the days ahead. Please read prayerfully.

Are Christians ever supposed to choose “the lesser of two evils” (or as some would say, the “better of two evils”)? The simple answer is, “No.” Spurgeon said (though the quote has also been attributed to Luther and Chesterton): “When faced with the choice of two evils, choose neither!”

This gets sticky in light of the political season. A lady recently asked me that question in regard to candidates and elections. As you know, politics is difficult, and often a “dirty” business. We have to remember that in November we’re choosing the better of two candidates, not the better of two evils. (Why do we not phrase it, “choosing the greater good”?) Someone will indeed get elected, and God wants us to choose wisely.

Politicians often say what people want to hear, and their pronouncements sometimes don’t match up with who they are or what they believe. We have to study candidates’ words and actions. I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I will say this: Before you make any political choice, pray! Ask God for wisdom. And while you’re praying, pray for candidates who will guard the landmarks of Christian heritage in America (Proverbs 22:28).

Also, consider these points:

(1) Be a realist. In regard to politics, understand that there are no perfect candidates. Even the best rulers have flaws and personal agendas. A vote is not a blank check—we won’t agree with every choice a candidate or president makes. King David (though not elected by man’s vote) was a man after God’s own heart (I Sam. 13:13-14), but he was not a perfect ruler. We’re not to trust in men; we’re to trust God (Ps. 118:8). Ultimately, God is in control of the affairs of men, and the heart of the king is in His hands (Prov. 21:1). Note: God can even use the ungodly to accomplish His will, as happened with Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, who God used to protect Daniel and his Jewish friends.

(2) Be biblical. Determine for yourself where the candidates stand. In your examination of candidates’ positions, ask whether biblical truth is being violated, or if there is simply a difference of opinion.

(3) Be practical. Determine whether you can “live with” a candidate’s personal or political platforms, in order that another candidate with worse priorities does not win office.

(4) Be determined. Please don’t stay home from the elections. Treasure your vote, and use it—even if you cannot in good conscience vote for every position on the ballot. Millions worldwide would die to vote like we can in America. Many in America have died to ensure your continuing privilege to vote.

(5) Be selective. As an American, select someone who will strictly uphold the Constitution—someone who won’t waffle on what America stands for or “sell” America down the river. Just because a person calls himself or herself “Christian,” that may not equate to competent leadership. Go beyond surface “labels” or media puffing and critiquing. Look for leadership, experience, and courage.

(6) Be discerning. As a Christian, vote for worthy candidates who will be standard-bearers in philosophy and practice—as much as is possible in the political realm—for biblical principles. Look for character, wisdom, and clear examples of godliness.

(7) Be persistent. Stay involved in the process. When the election is over, your voice still counts. Letters and phone calls to members of Congress or the Senate regarding various issues carry tremendous weight.

Some of these points may seem contradictory, but as I said, politics can get sticky. Ultimately, it’s a matter of your conscience, guided by the Word of God, trying to decide what is best for our country.

In post-modern America, we’re probably not going to get perfect biblical candidates—though we can pray for that!—but we must choose the best candidates we can. Pray before you choose, and then sandwich your choice with more prayer after the election! Regardless of who wins in November, we’re headed down some rocky paths and our trust must truly remain in God.

1 comment:

Judy Scharfenberg said...

Thanks for your clear direction. I am hoping many will follow your advice; pray and choose intelligently. I reminded one of my daughters this morning; God is still on the throne and prayer changes things.