A number of years ago, Christians were flashing their WWJD (what would Jesus do?) bracelets. It may have been helpful when tempted to express some road rage, or when tempted to transgress a biblical imperative…but bracelets have limits. It’s not quite as easy to reference the WWJD bracelet when contemplating a move to another city, or to accept a different job, or to make a certain purchase.
One of the more challenging decisions we will make in the next three weeks is to decide which candidate to vote for in the upcoming federal election. There are five parties represented in Canada with varying platforms. There are a host of issues from the economy, climate change, racial equality, immigration, and a host of proposed social programs.
How does a Jesus following person vote in 2019? Is there such a thing as a responsible way for a Christian to cast their ballot? Should we all vote for the same party? Is it possible to see the issues very differently and yet still be ‘up close’ in our adventure of following Jesus? How would Jesus vote if he was a Canadian in 2019? Would Jesus vote at all?
John Mark Comer is his book “God has a Name” explores our tendency to project onto God our own biases, opinions and convictions:
“Here’s how you know if you’ve created God in your own image…he agrees with you on everything. He hates all the people you hate. He voted for the person you voted for. If you’re a republican/conservative so is Jesus, if you’re a liberal/democrat so is Jesus. If you’re passionate about _________ than Jesus is passionate about __________. If you’re open and elastic about sexuality, so is he. And above all - he is tame. You never get mad at him or blown away by him because he is controllable. And above all, he is a figment of your imagination.”
In short, John Mark Comer is inviting the reader to acknowledge that “God is not like us.” We are called to be like him. Our temptation is to project our convictions onto God and then send those convictions in an absolute sense upon our friends, family and neighbours…with the messaged arrogance that everyone should vote like us—which is always the right way!
This is not to suggest that our ballot doesn’t matter—it matters a great deal! Below are a few principles that may help as you set out to cast your ballot on October 21st.
Decide that you WILL vote. As Canadian citizens, we ought to participate in the privilege of shaping the next government. Our freedom is a gift and we ought to exercise it.
Stay informed of the party platforms; but be careful of the source that offers commentary about the various platforms. Media serves a useful role; but is still biased.
Consider your local candidate, party leader and party policy. All three are important.
Pray along the way for all candidates and ask God for guidance.
Ask yourself which party platform seems to care about the things that God cares about. If it is not very obvious, listen to your conscience on the matter.
With confidence—cast your ballot.
Choose to honour and pray for whoever God promotes to an office of service.
So how would Jesus vote? In an absolute sense, we’re not entirely sure! But what we do know is this: He is interested in what motivates our vote. So, “May God keep our land, glorious and free!”