Two weeks ago we started a new series on Faith, Hope, and Love and examined how these three characteristics of the Christian should play itself out in the way we discuss politics. Today we will discuss love and how Christians should think about love when thinking about how to vote.
How Christians should vote this election has not been an easy question and many God – fearing, Bible honoring Christians have come on different sides of different issues. When talking about politics, most people don’t equate politics with love. A few weeks ago popular video came on Youtube after the second presidential debate. Someone put a few clips of the debate together and played “Time of Our Lives” over it. For those of you that don’t know the song, it is a love song popular in the 70’s. The reason it was so funny was that it was a sharp contrast to what the candidates were really saying about each other. It seems as if elections have gotten grittier and nastier. This year has certainly pushed the envelope in terms of acceptable speech.
Christ’s command to His church is to love (Matt. 22:37- 40). It is the means by which people are to know if we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35). Between faith, hope and love, love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13). This does not mean we avoid saying hard things or hide truth. But in sharing those things we are called to love. Love is the greatest commandment because when we love our neighbors we are fulfilling all the commandments. Here are a few considerations that we should keep in mind when talking with our neighbors and talking with brothers and sisters who call on the name of Christ about politics.
First, we are called to vote the way of love. What we mean by this is not that you vote according to what you love about the candidates or what they stand for. But we should not vote simply for what we think is beneficial just for our tribe (Asian Americans, rich, poor, etc.). But we are called to vote out of love for our neighbor and to seek their flourishing. There are things that Christians are called to oppose or support because we do not believe that it will lead to flourishing. We are not called to vote for things because we simply believe that I as an individual will benefit, or that “my people” will benefit. It is for the sake of human flourishing many Christians oppose things like abortion on demand or policies that affect society’s understanding of sexuality. It is not because we are simply being judgmental, but actually because we are fulfilling Christ’s mandate to love and seek for the welfare of our neighbor.
Second, we need to extend grace to those who may fall on a different side of our political debates. This is where politics and news sound bites can’t capture the whole story. What if our church knew a teenager who got pregnant and was considering an abortion? Would our church step in and help this girl? Would someone in the church offer their home and raise the child in if this teenager could not support the baby? What if our church embraced the gay stranger and loved him while not compromising on what Scripture teaches? Even among Bible believing Christians, some may fall on different sides of various issues. Some believers feel as if voting for Trump is not a good witness. Others feel that who will be put on the Supreme Court is more important. In these disagreements we are called to love.
Third, we are called to love God in how we vote. We are called to seek to honor God in who we choose. We are called to research diligently the various candidates. And we are called to choose to the best of our ability. But in all these things, our delight and our joy is in God. We need to put patriotism in the right place. There is nothing wrong with loving our country, but the country we should love most is our heavenly country. In that country, Christ reigns and we will see Him face to face.