I hesitate to write on the dreary subject of politics, but since some of my Christian friends feel very strongly about current political maneuverings in the United States, I believe it might be an appropriate time for it.
I suppose there are a few reasons why many Christians are troubled by the decision they feel they must make, particularly this year. One reason may be that they are concerned about the future of America, including possible compromises of freedom or economic losses. Another cause for concern may be the moral character, or lack thereof, that they perceive in multiple political candidates, one of whom they believe they must support or vote for in order to fulfill their civic duty, or perhaps to remain socially relevant. Some may be asking themselves a version of this question: “Am I compromising the high moral ground I seek to stand on, if I vote for someone who obviously has traded moral scruples for political power?”
I do not wish to detract from the concerns of thoughtful believers about the personal morality of leaders or as to societal decline, but I contend that it is not a shirking of some moral duty or disobedience to U.S. law if a Christian seeks to remain neutral by refraining from participating in the political process, if a higher spiritual claim takes precedence in his or her conscience. I have written a little more on this subject at this link.
My purpose here is to offer comfort to the hearts of believers whose worry and consternation is detracting from or eclipsing their peace and joy. To that end, I offer a few verses of Scripture with brief comments.
The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will (Daniel 4:25). This passage by itself should serve to calm the minds of all who entrust themselves to God who claims for Himself universal sovereignty over kings and rulers. But the Word of God gives us much more than this for the encouragement of our souls.
Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? (I Peter 3:13) Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil (Romans 13:3). The Apostles Peter and Paul both write these words of encouragement to follow the good and do good works, even though they faced difficult times and persecution in the early church. Now we know that these verses of Scripture are not absolute statements, for there have been positively evil rulers whom Satan has aroused against believers in spite of all they seek to do right, and for the blessing of others. But American Christians ought to be very thankful to be living under the rule of law, where the election (God’s choice) of one man or woman over another to be the president will probably not in short order bring disaster upon us.
Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (I Peter 4:19) If real religious persecution should begin in America because it has chosen godless leaders who manage to overturn the rule of law, we have the greatest comfort of all put before us in this and other similar portions of Scripture. The loving and righteous Creator who gave us our being and made us a new creation in Christ will in the final analysis preserve our souls for Himself, no matter if the worst should come, and no matter whether our faith fails under extreme duress, for He will complete what He has created in us until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6).
If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked (Proverbs 29:12). What should really give believers pause is the moral connection the Scriptures make between the ruler and the ruled. Given the steep moral slide in American society, it is no wonder that those leaders who become most popular are often deeply flawed morally, while promoting themselves by preying on the lusts and fears of a populace, and the “people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31). While these thoughts may not be very cheerful in themselves, a Christian ought to take courage in the truth that, not only is the Lord ruling over all, but that He is returning for His own very soon.
“Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you . . . Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence . . . Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord . . . Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:1-8 ESV).