The 2016 election is one of the most important in the history of the United States, and it will irrefutably determine its future. There is much at stake this time around. Our next president will be tasked with the appointment of as many as four Supreme Court justices, ultimately tipping the scales of the court in one direction or the other. He or she will also work with the next Congress, which will determine whether we continue on the course of moral decline, decreasing religious rights and excessive spending; or turn in a more righteous direction.
Many Christians have expressed disappointment with the final candidates on the ballot, feeling that they are left with a less than ideal choice. Some have even contemplated staying home, fearing that to select a particular candidate is to endorse or ignore that person’s long list of personal shortcomings.
So, what is a Christian voter to do?
God has blessed us with the privilege of living in a country where we have the right and privilege to vote and influence the policies that govern us. He has given us dominion to reign on this earth, which comes with an active responsibility (Genesis 1:26).
But, what if we see flawed character in both choices on the ballot? Should we still vote?
The answer is simple. When a Christian chooses not to vote, evil is advanced by default.
In the 2012 elections, 90 million Christians were eligible to voter, yet 39 million did not vote! Considering that the current president won the election by only 5 million votes, it is evident that had those 39 million believers taken their God-given place, circumstances might not be what they are in America today.
“If citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted”
Still feeling uncertain? Here are five reasons you can cast your vote with confidence in 2016:
1. Your Vote Is Your Seed
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” –2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV
As His ambassadors, we have the privilege of choosing our elected officials. No candidate is perfect—all have fallen short of the glory of God. But, while we may not always feel enthusiastic about our choices, a vote is a seed given to the sower—not to be buried and wasted. When we sow our ballot in faith, our seed will produce a harvest.
Sow a seed with your vote, then water it with prayer, asking God to cause your chosen candidate to govern our nation wisely (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
“Duty is ours, results are God’s.”
–John Quincy Adams
2. Your Vote Is Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth…. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” –Matthew 5:13-16
An election is our opportunity to fulfill Christ’s command to engage our culture as salt and light. When we don’t get involved and we don’t vote, we’re opening the door for sin to run rampant in our nation. The presence of godly people in the arena of government maintains godly values in our society. If we don’t show up, our values will no longer be represented in the public square, and our light will not shine for all to see.
3. Your Vote Is Empowered by Faith
“But without faith it is impossible to please him.” –Hebrews 11:6, KJV
The faith it took for you to be born again is the same faith that can change this country. Faith is a powerful force. It can change any situation.
Our vote isn’t putting full faith in people, but in God’s ability to supernaturally move upon this nation. It’s time to start believing God for the healing of this nation.
Our faith should be calling things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:17). Instead of speaking discouragement, frustration and doubt, we need to be speaking encouragement, faith and hope, being completely confident in our God and His ability to change our nation.
We might not find much hope in our choices for president, but when we mix our faith with our works, we will see Him move on our behalf.
4. Your Vote Defends the Weak
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” –Proverbs 31:8-9
Potential victims of abortion, euthanasia and terrorism are counting on you to choose the candidate who is most likely to defend them. To remain silent is to allow those who do not respect life or righteous values to be in power.
If we choose to not vote, we are guilty of supporting abortion and every other evil that may come from our government.
You might say, “How can that be? I didn’t endorse those policies. I didn’t even vote for the officials enacting them.”
When we, as Christians, choose not to vote, we are accomplices to the evil being perpetuated in our society, because we stood by and allowed unrighteous government officials to be elected.
5. Your Non-Vote Is a Sin
We see in God’s Word that we are called to participate in government (Matthew 22:18-21) and that all civil authority is granted by God (Romans 13:1-7). When we vote, we are publicly acknowledging that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. This power to vote is a God-given divestment of authority. This means that not only will government officials be held accountable for the way they rule—those who vote are also held accountable for the choices they made or didn’t make come election time.
Christians should not abdicate their call to influence government, leaving others to determine the course of the nation in which we live, raise our families, and desire to retain religious freedoms.
Your vote for one candidate is not a proclamation of your full faith in that person, but a decision to honor God with good stewardship. No matter who is on the ballot, we will always be choosing between two fallen sinners. But, a good candidate will surround himself with godly counsel (Proverbs 24:5-6). While some elections present better choices than others, our job is to evaluate each major party platform, determine which most closely represents biblical values, and vote out of obedience and honor to God’s word.
“Silence in the face of evil is in itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
When you feel discouraged about your choices for president, go to the Lord and seek wisdom on how to vote this election: “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9). Cast your vote—then cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you—and this nation.