“If you’re voting for Trump in November, you clearly don’t read your Bible.”
“If you’re campaigning for Biden, you must not take your faith seriously.”
Loaded statements like those are a dime a dozen every election cycle, though they seem particularly plentiful this go ’round.
So as a Christian, how should you respond? There is no doubt the contrast between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is stark. And it’s overwhelmingly clear that, although Scripture doesn’t explicitly name many of the issues voters are concerned about, the Bible — and Jesus — have a lot to say about the topics themselves: the value of human life, the importance of caring for the poor, the weight of justice, and the significance of loving your neighbor.
I’m not here to convince you to vote for Biden or for Trump. While voting for our leaders at all levels of government absolutely matters — we’re called to be good citizens on earth — our ultimate allegiance is to a kingdom not of this world, where our acceptance is based not on a political litmus test but on an unwavering devotion to Jesus, whom we believe paid the eternal penalty for our sins.
That isn’t to say, however, our faith in Jesus is apolitical.
As believers, we have an obligation before we step into the voting booth in November to study Scripture, to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to meditate on Jesus’ teachings, and to pray for wisdom on how to vote, all with the knowledge that Jesus is king over every earthly ruler we choose to elect.
Unlike those who don’t know Jesus, though, we aren’t to place all our faith, trust, and hope in our representatives, senators, governors, and presidents.
“Christians should also have no illusions about building an earthly utopia,
for they must pass this life with continual opposition from the citizens of the city of man,” wrote Pastor Erwin Lutzer in his 1999 book, “Why the Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t.” He continued, “They must march through the crumbling empires of the world, spreading the knowledge of the gospel.”
And as the Westminster Catechism succinctly states, humanity’s “chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
We should be wary of watering down the Word of God by believing — much less saying — the strength and veracity of a person’s Christian faith can be unquestionably extrapolated from how he or she votes in a few months.
Some of you may feel perfectly at home with team Trump, while others sense a camaraderie with the Biden camp. Then, there are those who feel like political nomads, like neither candidate represents them or their convictions. If nothing else, that disorienting feeling should remind you we are sojourners in a foreign land, traveling toward an eternity with Jesus. Remember, though, when Jesus taught us to pray, this is what He said: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are called to live Kingdom principles as we journey through this life.
Don’t let the craziness of 2020 — or the loaded statements I referenced at the start of this — keep you from being wise stewards of your freedoms and privileges as Americans and your obligations as believers.
Over the next several weeks, both presidential campaigns will no doubt become more divisive and the rhetoric on social media more toxic. So be informed, but don’t oversaturate yourself with politics or the internet.
Instead, spend time in prayer, read Scripture, and seek wise counsel from those you trust, and cast your ballots in November with the confidence that, regardless of who is sitting behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office come January 2021, Jesus will still be on His throne and your citizenship in His Kingdom is irrevocable.