“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.”
Two-hundred and forty-six years later, Wesley’s advice continues to ring true today. There are powerful forces in our world and culture that incite us to speak evil of people made in the image of God and sharpen our spirits against one another. This is especially true in election season. Don’t do it! This is not of the Lord. This is the work of Satan and the forces of evil. We can and should engage in respectful dialogue and conversation about important matters of faith and life, including politics. But when we disagree, we must not allow our hearts and minds to fill with hate for others. I have profound disagreements with some of my closest friends and brothers in Christ. We can disagree and still love and value one another. The world wants us to seek first power in this world and the rightness of my side. But Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew6:33).
As your pastor, I want to add to John Wesley’s advice with four practical suggestions for how you can seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness over the next month:
- Pray more than you post. If you haven’t prayed about it, then you probably aren’t ready to post about it. Let God’s voice be primary in your heart and mind.
- I strongly encourage you to consider going off social media for the next month, or at least greatly limiting the amount of time you spend on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Social media has turned into a cesspool of misinformation, vicious attacks, and a breeding ground for hate. Jesus says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Matthew 5:30). If social media is a stumbling block for you, maybe it isn’t worth it for the next month. However, if you decide you must engage in discussion on social media, I would urge you to follow the guidance given by Archbishop Foley Beach.
- If you have already firmly decided who you will vote for in the upcoming election, consider completely unplugging from the news, debates, and political commentary between now and the election. If your mind is already made up, these sources will only serve to sharpen your spirit against people voting on the other side. It is better to cut it off.
- Meditate on Scripture daily. As a congregation we will be meditating on Psalm 23 for the month of October. In addition, I want to ask all of us to meditate on Romans 12:9–21. These are key verses for Christians engaging with the world, and I believe they are a word for us today (see below).
I am praying for each of you and for the upcoming election. No matter the outcome, the Kingdom of God is never in danger. We know that one day His kingdom will come on this earth and set all things right. This is our Christian hope. Our greatest allegiance is not to party or person, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not divided. What unites us as Christians is infinitely greater than what divides us. Remember this.
Let love be genuine.
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.