I don’t need to tell you it’s election day. The most contentious election season of my lifetime is coming to an end. Many will vote today. I voted weeks ago.
I put a lot of time, thought, and prayer into filling out my ballot. I wouldn’t have mailed it unless I was convinced I was doing the right thing. I am convinced that I made the right decision. Put more strongly, I think you should vote the way I did. My conviction on the matter is strong.
This election has been racially charged. Christians have had a hard time agreeing about this election and for whom to vote. Our tone with each other has been unnecessarily harsh. What is the problem?
I don’t think the problem is conviction. Conviction is a good thing. On controversial issues, each of us should be convinced in our own minds (Romans 14:5). I don’t even think the problem is passion. The more important the issue, the more we should care about it.
I think the problem is lack of humility. In other words, it’s pride. None of us possess the omniscient knowledge and infinite wisdom of God. There is no Bible verse telling us exactly which box to check today. Each of us is making our best judgment about imperfect candidates in a wildly complex world. We will not always come to the same conclusions.
In the last week, I’ve had extended conversations with three friends about our choice of candidate. Between the four of us, we had four different answers. All of these friends are very faithful Christians. I don’t think this diversity is unique to my group of friends. Christians are coming to different conclusions.
We need to give each other the benefit of the doubt on these issues of conscience. We have already considered how God alone is Lord of the conscience. Instead of jumping to accusations of biblical unfaithfulness, let’s first seek to understand why our brothers and sisters might come to different political conclusions. We can sharpen and learn from one another and even disagree charitably with one another. We can boldly argue our convictions without draping ourselves in pride. Growth in mutual love, respect, encouragement, and edification that should come from interactions with other believers will not come to fruition if we approach one another without humility. It is possible to have both strong conviction and deep humility.
The controversy and hurt feelings will not end today. In the weeks, months, and years to come, Christians will have opportunities to love each other even if our political convictions do not line up. In our acerbic political climate, may the witness of God’s people be that we hold sincere convictions, care deeply, and love those with whom we disagree.
- Pray for our nation. May God have mercy on us.
- Pray for our churches. May the Lord protect us from sinful division.
- Pray that God’s people would grow in the fruit of the Spirit as we engage politically.