This Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 is election day in the United States. This Tuesday, the citizens of the U.S. – at least those age 18 and up – have the opportunity (some would say “duty”) to participate in the democratic processes of selecting those persons who will represent them – from the office of the President to local school boards and city councils. This Tuesday (and every other day for that matter) we who call ourselves Christian have an even greater opportunity (I would say “command”) to give a witness of faith, hope and love to the United States of America and the rest of the world. (We should be quite cognizant that the rest of the world is watching how “we the people” react to the outcome of this election. We have a powerful witness to offer the rest of the world as they look to America in these times.)
We, as a country, are snared in a bitter partisan divide – a divide that is damaging not just individuals, political candidates and the two major parties, but one that is hurting our nation as a whole and causing many to turn away from the political process. This does not mean we should not take the election and our responsibility as Christians - and for most of us as citizens - seriously. We should. Too many have struggled (and continue to struggle) and even died to secure the right to participate in free and fair elections in this country. While the 15th Amendment, which passed in 1869, gave black men voting rights, it wasn’t until 1920 and the ratification of the 19th Amendment that women of any race in the U.S. were granted the right to vote. Furthermore, it took almost a century and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to finally put an end to Jim Crow laws that kept our black brothers and sisters from effectively exercising their right to vote.
As Christians, even with all that is at stake in this election, we should not attach ultimate importance to any election no matter how passionate we feel. Do not let fear rule. Resist the tendency to “awfulize” the results of this election (that is to over-exaggerate what will happen if your desires don’t win out.) While we must not minimize the significant moral issues at stake in the election – the destruction of COVID-19, the end of racial injustice, the economic assault on human thriving and the like – it is well to remember that no matter who wins, President Trump or former Vice-President Biden, the kingdom of God has not come, and neither Trump nor Biden are its ruler. All human effort, no matter how honorable or able falls under the rule of Christ.
Remember what the great 19th century Protestant Missionary to China J. Hudson Taylor said “Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all.”
Regardless of the results, many of our sisters and brothers will be disappointed, hurt and scared for the future, and many will be celebrating and filled with hope for what tomorrow brings. We who are Christ followers are called to reach out in grace filled love to both and “offer them Christ.” Our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world does not hinge on the outcome of this election. Let the following witnesses from Holy Scripture guide our witness and may Christ himself be the example we emulate.
“Be glad in the Lord always! Again, I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)