Today is Election Day in the United States. Politically speaking, many people have been looking forward to (or dreading) this day for several months. I have just a few comments to make about today’s significance from a more spiritual perspective:
- I count it a blessing that we live in a country which holds regular, peaceful elections. People leaving office soon will do so peacefully, and those who are voted into office today know that they will eventually have to leave. So many parts of the world do not know this kind of peaceful government structure. We are blessed to live in a land where cruel dictators, totalitarian regimes, and bloody coups have no place.
- When we vote for our leaders, we are agreeing to accept the opinion of the majority, even if it conflicts with our own. This is another wonderful part of our electoral system, because it encourages us to grow in patience, humility, and unity with others. I might be unhappy with the results of this or that race for office, but by voting I am stating that I am part of a much larger whole. It’s like this in the church, too: we belong to an entity larger than our individual selves. There is less of “me” and more of “us.” The church should exhibit patience, humility, and unity as a model for the rest of the world.
- Take a moment to read Luke 20:20-26. This is the story in which some folks tried to trick Jesus by asking him if it’s right to pay taxes to Caesar, the ruler of the Roman Empire. The Lord’s reply shows us true wisdom when it comes to our relationship to the government. Whether we like Caesar or not, Caesar is the ruler; so we should give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. We should pay taxes, obey the law, serve our country – as long as these things do not interfere with Jesus’s other command, that we give to God what is God’s. I think we can do both without compromising our faith!
- Finally, scripture teaches us that all authority on earth comes from God (Romans 13:1-2). Therefore, we should submit to those who have authority over us, even if we do not agree with their policies. (There is room, however, for protest when rulers and laws are immoral, unethical, and unrighteous.)
As we move into a new phase in American political history, let us remember the call of our faith: to serve the Lord faithfully by being faithful citizens, always working for the good of our nation and our community.