For most of my adult Christian life, I never voted. I wasn’t even registered. And when I was asked about it, I discouraged other Christians likewise.
The explanation I gave was that when I was born-again, I had once and for all “voted” for King Jesus and therefore, I never need to cast a ballot. Meaning, I felt that to vote in the natural, was somehow to minimize the superior role I attributed to the Kingdom of God. I never really verbalized it, but I guess I also assumed that all human governments are at best ungodly; and at worst, corrupt, wicked and immoral. So, why should I have to decide between sinful candidates (or groups), when they do not hold my affection or give me hope?
The only caveat is if a True Christian is up for election. I mean someone who walks in step with the Spirit and is verifiably born-again. I would support such a person for the simple reason that I align with the Spirit they have. But it is extremely rare that real believers are ever candidates. That’s just the condition of the system we have today.
On the other hand, as far as I know, Jesus never aspired for political power, nor did he advise his followers to start getting involved with human government. But he was adamant that they understand the Kingdom of God and live in it. He also made sure they knew that he was in charge of it. This next statement is hard for some Christians to understand, but: our Kingdom is not in any way present on Earth as a governmental force.
I once read a post attributed only by the letter “J,” which stated:
The currents in which Christianity flows and changes the hearts of people are outside the capacity of humanity’s feeble attempts to order its destiny towards any form of a terrestrial utopia.
Meaning, governments and legislation as we know them today are basically outside the Kingdom of God. And vice versa. Therefore, we can’t really expect human organizations to look much like the Kingdom, except in cases where there is a very large majority of Christians. And even then, it’s far, far from perfect.
Anyway, after about 15 years of living blissfully unaware of current events and of the on-goings of national governments, I separately met two curious believers. They both gently berated me for not voting, and interestingly they voted exactly opposite. I explained my position as non-participating, but that was awkwardly not good enough. It was as if I was being irresponsible by not fulfilling “my civic duty.” Well, come on, even some Christian denominations forbid voting. So I know that I am not alone. And of course, Christianity is never to be confused with “responsibility.” I explain in The Four Faces how responsibility is a form of personality, not religion.
Now, the funny part is that these two people did not just want me to vote, but rather to also vote the same way that they were. Which told me that they were not expressing confidence in a system, but more so in a political agenda/party. Which to me, is a direct attack against a Christian’s hope in King Jesus. Meaning, I can handle someone who wants to vote out of respect for the system; as long as they never trust a person, party, agenda or system—more than they trust God.
Anyway, I soon sought out some more balanced folks who not only respected my beliefs but also explained that voting can sometimes be one way to try to be an answer to our prayer: “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That is to say, we can vote according to biblical values, recognizing of course, that in most countries, majority still wins. And if we vote that way, and then values win, so to speak, we can hope that society might look just a little more like God’s Kingdom. (In cases where a True Christian is voted into a leadership role, we can be thankful for the expected influence of the Spirit.) And yet, if values lose, then we can know that most citizens reject God’s Kingdom: which could be a form of God’s judgement. Remember, God never loses, because God is outside the system.
I totally get all that. And with that in mind, I really have no problem with the idea of voting. The difficulty for me is that many people find their ultimate trust in either a person, an agenda, a country or in a system. I want to be polite, but these are all strictly forbidden for the Christian.
I also worry that too many Christians feel that voting is either ALL that they can do, or the most important thing they can do. And so, they never bother to pray (or act) once they have cast the ballot in the natural. This is so very far from reality. To put it into perspective, one prayer alone is at least a million times more effective than voting. Ok, exaggeration. But think about it: Jesus never once voted. And neither did Paul. Of course, they were not part of systems that allowed for voting. But despite at the beginning not having a system for voting, nor having the chance to vote, look at how the Kingdom of God has grown and is everywhere in the world today. Certainly the Kingdom does not rely on typical human systems of social organizing.
Another related topic that an acquaintance mentioned is that of “legislating morality.” He said that he doesn’t favor the notion, and instead prefers to see the hearts of the people changed first. Now that is a perspective I can resonate with. I mean, during some the historical great awakenings, I have heard stories where small towns dismissed their entire police force, since there had been no crime for so long. (This is because nearly all citizens had become Christians and were now all obeying the laws.)
Similarly, during those times, there are many documented cases of taverns and brothels closing doors, since there were no customers left. And to me, that is the kind of social transformation I prefer, if given the chance. Of course, during massive revivals, the governments would also be mostly Christian, since such leadership is only a subset of society. That is to say, if almost everyone has become born-again, then that will be reflected in all aspects of society and of government.
On the other hand, when there are no groups claiming a majority, then we need to face the reality that all laws and rules basically try to legislate morality. Think about it. I surmise that what some people find sour is when a law is passed that most folks do not want. Then it can feel that it is just being forced on the masses, without true heart change.
In closing, let me say that for the last 20 years of my faith journey, I have voted a few times. And in those cases, I have done so out of respect for the system, and in alignment with biblical values. However, I may or may not ever vote again, and I reserve that right. (If and when I am aware that a True Christian is running, I will most likely lend my support.) But what I can tell you is that I will always seek the Spirit about it. This is important…I mean, how many Christians ever bother to pray this way, first?: “God, before I do—or assume—anything, would you even like me to vote? Yes or No?”
Regardless of where I live, what passport I carry, or whether or not I vote, my hope is now, and has always been, in Father God and his Kingdom. Of course, I do not judge people who choose to vote, or those who choose not to. I respect both perspectives and because of this short article, I hope you better understand mine.
© 2019, Alignment Life