I hate election years. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the freedom I have to vote for my leaders. I appreciate my responsibility to be active in my community and to choose someone who will lead us wisely. In fact, I pride myself on taking my children with me when I vote to see how we have the freedom to choose the men and women who run our country. I think it’s the responsibility of every citizen of voting age to go to the polls and cast their vote. But I hate election years.
It seems like the entire year is just one big doomsday prediction. Suddenly, we are focused on all of the negative things that are wrong with the nation, which leads us to see all the things that are wrong with the world. Friendships are broken over political differences. Families are divided. Churches, workplaces, and even playgrounds become areas of tension as one political side tries to force its opinions and beliefs on another.
Is this the year that the world will end?! If your candidate isn’t chosen, you might be the one asking this very question!
But have we forgotten Who is really in charge? Have we taken our politics to the extreme and put more faith in “the system” than in the One who created those behind “the system”?
Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the LORD; he guides it wherever he pleases.” While I believe that we should be researching and understanding why we choose the candidate we decide to support, I also believe that God is in this election. He already knows the heart of the person who will be the next leader of our country. He even knows the outcome of the 2012 polls! I find such reassurance in that very fact!
I say all of this because I can feel the tension in the air. I can see it in the comments on Facebook and read it in some blogs. It’s as if we have forgotten the second greatest commandment – “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39b). While political discussion is good, name-calling, bickering, and general obnoxiousness are not! Can we not love each other, despite our different political views?
I dread election year because I see adults suddenly acting out like children. I see people allowing politics to diminish their relationships. I see the woes of the world being carried on the shoulders of many.
So while I believe that election is good, that choosing our candidates is a citizen’s responsibility, and that we need to be informed of our current affairs, I also think we need to be reminded to
“Live in peace with each other. 14 . . .warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances. . .” (I Thess. 5:13b-18a).