The following is my church newsletter article for November. If you are a church member, I’m sorry to publish twice, but I wanted to share this with everyone else. Please read and feel free to comment – but know that if you start a political war and disregard my message, I will delete your comments!

By the time you see this article, you may have already voted. If you don’t look at the newsletter right away, the election may be over and done with; we either have a new president or the same one for the next four years. Whether the election is done before or after you see this month’s newsletter, I want to offer a challenge to you.

  1. Stop and pray. I know some of us who have been; we all should have been praying daily, constantly, for several months. Pray for our country. Pray for the men and women of our armed forces who are on the front lines every day, fighting for you. Pray for the elected officials who work in Washington and Austin and locally, who make decisions every day that affect us in many ways. Pray for both candidates, whether or not you actually like or trust them.
  2. Stop and think. Think about the emotions that are behind the words you are about to speak about this candidate or that political view. Think about the people who will see your posts online, who can be uplifted by your words or irritated by them. Think about the gifts you have been given – to live in a country where you are free to express your opinion. But also remember: your opinion might not be helpful for everyone. As St. Paul writes, “‘Everything is permissible for me’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12. Yes, you are allowed to speak your mind, but are you benefiting everyone out there, or just alienating people? And if you alienate them, how will you ever be able to share the saving message of Jesus Christ with them?
  3. Stop and love. Remember: everyone is a flawed, sinful human being. Christ came to this earth and lived among us, not to show us how to live a perfect life but because we could never live it. Every single person on the November ballot is an imperfect, sinful person. Somehow we get into this dichotomy during major election years, that someone on one side of the ticket is inherently evil, while the candidate on the other side is inherently good – one is a devil; the other, an angel. I’m not saying that you can’t agree more with one candidate than another – in fact, I pray that you have thoroughly researched the individuals running to learn what they stand for, so that you can vote for someone who can most closely represent you. But in the midst of all of this, I beg of you: love your neighbor. Love those who are voting for the other guy. Don’t call them names or write them off. Remember that regardless of which person wins, we still live in a free country. And while we could argue and complain about the constitution and courts and the choices and actions of this politician or that elected official, it’s important to remember that we don’t live in a war-torn, Third World country. Perhaps our righteous anger would be better directed at those around the world who do not benefit from the gifts we enjoy every day: stable government, the freedom to speak our minds, and the freedom to worship our Savior.
  4. I do pray that you will honor the freedom of citizenship that this country affords us. But let’s seek to use it to God’s glory. Use the gift of free speech to share the love of Christ and His amazing message of forgiveness with others! Pray about the people you will vote for. And vote! Then when the election is done, pray for everyone who is in office.

When Jesus came to this earth, He entered into an occupied land, but He didn’t overthrow the corrupt government. He challenged them, but He also prayed for them. And He told His disciples and us that unfortunately, we still have to pay taxes.