Being a Christian Citizen
November 7, 2022
Voting is important, and I believe, when possible, all Christians should vote. Andy Stanley, well-known pastor, leader, author, and communicator extraordinaire, has been open and helpful in challenging Christians about our political participation and perspectives. He has preached direct messages and written thought-provoking books and letters, moving us toward responsible and godly involvement. I want to summarize some of his thoughts that are particularly helping me.
As important as it is to vote, voting is not the “end all be all.” There are so many ways for us to engage in and love our communities apart from voting. Of course, the representatives we put into office make a difference in policy. But we can also participate in grassroots activism, support certain Christian interest groups, be a voice in school and government boards, as well as many other ways. Banking everything on election days but neglecting our duties as citizens every other day contributes to the polarization of politics and easily leads to the mistaken and divisive mindset that there is a “Christian” way to vote.
Christians cannot afford to engage in politics in this dangerously partisan way because no one political party can fully encompass all our convictions and beliefs. For instance, as a Christian who values all life made in the image of God and all institutions designed by God, I should not have to choose between unborn lives and lives of minorities. As a Christian who understands the pervasive sin in both individuals and human-made systems, I should acknowledge that both individuals and systems hold responsibility for social issues. But when we have a highly divisive political system, it forces us to pit equally biblical and equally significant values against each other and pit Christians against Christians.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
You see, ultimately, God does not see political parties when he looks at us. In the eyes of God, we are not categorized as Republican or Democrat. We are all seen as equal children of God made one through the body of Christ.
Politics are messy. Politics will continue to divide Americans and force them to choose a side. The good news is, however, that Jesus is not on a side. Scripture reveals to us the expectations of a leader and what leadership should look like in a governing way. No candidate will even come close to a leader like Jesus, but if they are striving to be more like Jesus, then they definitely make an exceptional candidate.
I certainly hope you will take the opportunity to participate in this election. It definitely has the potential to change the world for the greater good. Every Christian should pray and study and then vote their Christ-informed conscience.
Here’s the most important fact. Your political candidate will win or lose based on how American citizens vote in November. But the church wins or loses, the community wins or loses—and in some way our nation wins or loses (and even the world)—based on how Christians love each other. That’s why Jesus said we must not allow anything or anyone to divide us. As we consider candidates and policies, there is one most important consideration Christians must put foremost in their decision-making: What does loving like Jesus require of me?
Let’s pray for a rebirth of genuine love, wisdom, and responsibility this voting season.
And I encourage you to read Andy Stanley’s book NOT IN IT TO WIN IT.
Be sure to exercise your right to vote on November 8, 2022.