A General Election special
What is most important for us as Christians as we think about the general election? Here are some of the different views:
Some urge us to promote the more godly candidates, or to vote for a Christian candidate regardless of their political allegiance or policies – though that might offend the conscience of some Christian voters.
Others argue for a particular approach to politics as being “more Christian” – though there are sincere, Bible believing, Spirit filled Christians amongst MPs in all three main parties in the House of Commons. Which is right?
Others suggest “they can’t all be right” so perhaps Christians should stay out of politics altogether – though the gospels show that Jesus was not afraid of challenging ‘the powers that be’ and there were clearly practical implications of his teaching that upset politicians!
I have already suggested the most important thing is to pray, as we think through what matters to us, repent of relying on politicians to bring in the Kingdom and welcome/love one another – http://www.allnations.org.uk/the-election-praying-for-the-parties-and-the-people/
Today, less than a week before the election, I would like to continue this theme with some advice given by one of my heroes, John Wesley.
In his journal for 3 October 1774 Wesley states:
‘I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them,
1 To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2 To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3 To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.’
Elections are different today but the advice is still sound!
Wesley published his sermons, not as preached but in a form that could be used as a basis for others to preach or as a basis for study. There is another helpful quotation in Sermon 39:
‘Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.’
John Wesley was not afraid to say what he believed. He was clear and sometimes provoked opposition and antagonism from the religious authorities or from a local mob. But he was motivated by the love of God to seek peace and to disagree in a loving, Christian way. It is irresponsible of us not to engage in politics in some way but it is even worse to engage in a contentious way that does not build up the Body of Christ in love.
Wesley learned his approach to politics and to disagreeing well from the scriptures. We too can learn from meditating on such passages as Ephesians 4.16, 4.29 and 1 Thess 5.11, as we pray and think and maybe seek to persuade others.