While discussing the presidential debates at Bible study last week, one of our group members mentioned that at a previous election, even his own family members were afraid to tell each other who they planned to vote for. I could kind of relate, for I hoped the other members of the group wouldn’t ask me…though I felt embarrassed to be self-conscious about it.
I’d had a tax appointment that afternoon, and the elderly gentleman who helped me, a veteran of the Korean War, got reminiscing about the “good old days.” He said “Everyone was so united” when he was a boy during World War II, with none of this current mud-slinging by one political party against another. I know plenty of division did exist back then—segregation came to mind even as I listened to his memories. Yet his comments still struck a chord with me.
The polarization and division that seems to characterize politics today and even affects the church gets rather wearying at times, doesn’t it? I read a news story recently about a high school girl whose teacher compared her to the Ku Klux Klan for wearing a Mitt Romney t-shirt, while others seem to view President Obama as near the anti-Christ. Yet I know sincere, on-fire-for Christ believers planning to vote for both candidates.
The world seems far more complicated than it did when I was a little girl, when the right and wrong political sides seemed so clear. For me, much as I wrestle with what I agree and disagree with on both sides, I can’t in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports legally killing human lives through abortion, however tiny they may be. Yet I understand the arguments of other believers that caring for the poor and representing the needs of aliens and minorities are also biblical mandates. I wish both political sides could see and acknowledge that all human life is precious and worth sacrificing for, not just their chosen “groups.”
Anyway, I’ve been blessed the last few weeks by a couple of reminders, one from one of my critique partners and another through the ACFW email loop, to just be praying for our country. Neither request was at all partisan, which I liked—just encouraging believers to join together and pray for God’s will to be done and for hearts to be turned toward Him in our country. I was convicted, because while I prayed fervently for America in my teens, I haven’t much lately. Perhaps I’ve partly given up on the whole political sphere, believing that real change will only happen on a more grassroots level of building bridges and relationships. I still favor that kind of action. But these fellow believers have reminded me that we still have a responsibility to pray for “kings and all who are in authority,” for “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”
And we, His people, are those who are supposed to truly be one—a “more perfect union” that America itself, flawed and fallen as any nation, can ever be:
“I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” ~ John 17:3
Let’s not let the Enemy divide us, but join together and pray, in this upcoming election, for our Father’s will to be done, as Jesus did.