things got difficult. But one of the fascinating things about having friends who don't have the same belief system or ideas as you, is that election time gets intense!
I've had discussions lately with quite a few neighbors, friends and church members about our economy, the job situation, foreign policy and so forth. And although I am non-partisan, I have an opinion about our system: it's broken. Jesus said "No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse" (Matthew 9:16). He wasn't talking about politics, but we are in a similar situation. Most of our laws are designed to fix a problem, and that's honorable. By nature, those laws favor one situation while limiting another, and they're never perfectly even-handed. The imbalance needs to be adjusted, or new factors come into play. Our system has become so complex that, when we write another law to patch a problem, we "tear a hole" somewhere else, then we try to fix that, and ... well, you get the picture. (If you'd like a real-life example, here's a news story illustrating this from the BBC.)
I have a much more fundamental question that you might find counter-intuitive at first: Who is Jesus? He is the Creator, the coming King of the world, our Savior, and the one who by becoming flesh along with us, has brought us into the heart of God for eternity. Asking "how would Jesus vote?" obscures the real issue: Jesus isn't running, and he isn't voting, he already IS in charge even though he hasn't yet fully imposed his will on the world. When he does return visibly in glory, he won't be looking for your vote! He, and he alone, will have all the perfect answers to all our tangled and competing needs. If we try to work out our problems without looking to him for his solutions and his love, we're hopelessly lost. And someday, he's going to return and we'll finally get to see what human life really ought to look like.
What do we do in the meantime, then? Here are some suggestions:
- Pray hard for our leaders and system -- as though prayer is the only tool you have -- and be a responsible citizen. See Rom. 13:1-7.
- Follow the simple advice in Malachi 6:8: "this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."
- Get involved where you can to "do right and love mercy." We have the right to vote for leaders and issues in this country, and I encourage you to cast a wise, prayerfully-considered vote. About 20 years ago a friend of mine decided to get more involved: he ran for city council because he loved his neighbors and wanted to do them some good.
- Use a lot of grace in discussions with those of different opinions.