How will you vote on November 8th? If you are reading this and you are not a U.S. citizen, you might count yourself lucky. "Contentious" doesn't even begin to describe the political world as we know it today. Each of my everyday, ordinary days for the past several weeks (maybe months) holds progressively more doses of information regarding the merits and/or ills of candidates, parties, and voters.
These days remind me of a lunch table conversation from my elementary school days. My friend, Derek, and I, merely echoing our fathers' opinions, debated whether a "peanut farmer" or a "Hollywood actor" should preside over our nation. I could not vote then, obviously. Several years later, now a college student, I argued, merely echoing one side of popular opinion, with others about whether a White House veteran or a rookie candidate should take the oath.
By my count, in all the elections in which I have voted for the Presidential office, I have "lost" and "won" just about an equal number of times. In less than a month I will walk into a booth and shade an oval. Perhaps you will, too.
A few days ago, the political rants of the day found themselves as topics of conversations at our family meal. Our oldest child will be able to vote in four years. Our other two are much farther away from voting age. They each are interested in the topics of the day. They often, to my enjoyment, echo my views or (sometimes to less of my enjoyment) echo the views of some other adult influences.
During the early morning meal a few days ago, I led a devotion from the Bible and prayed. In preparation (to which I devoted the time between pouring waffle batter and sitting down). I Googled "pray" and "submit" and "government authorities." I eventually landed on Romans 13.
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13:1-7 (NIV)
Those are straight-forward and, at times, hard-to-swallow commands. They are some of the most fitting words for our November 2016 days.
If you or I vote Red, Blue, Neutral, Conservative, Liberal, eenie meenie miney mo, or not at all, Romans 13 applies to each of us. Join me in remembering that on November 9th. And, regardless of the outcome of the election, if you are a follower of Christ, you can, in the old words of Jim Reeves sing, "This World Is Not My Home."