Like a lot of Christians, I’m really troubled about the upcoming election. I’m not excited about voting for either candidate. Hillary Clinton is pro abortion and poses a threat to the traditional family and religious liberty- the three issues that matter most to me. On the other hand Donald Trump boasts about his philandering past, suggests he will make an endorsement of the LGBT agenda a test of citizenship and, from all indications, lacks sound judgment – which is an essential attribute for a President in a nuclear age.
Some well known believers like Al Mohler, and Russell Moore are choosing to write-in the name of a third candidate. They say they can’t in good conscience vote for either one of the primary candidates. Others like Wayne Grudem and Jack Graham have written articles insisting that voting for Donald Trump is a morally good choice. I’ve read the reasoning on both sides of this issue.
Let me say upfront, there are three reasons I will likely “hold my nose” (as Franklin Graham suggested several months ago) and cast my vote for Donald Trump. First, I believe Mike Pence is a great choice as a vice presidential candidate. Second, I am gravely concerned about the future direction of the Supreme Court. Third, I know Hillary Clinton is opposed to the three issues that matter to me the most – life of the unborn, traditional family and religious liberty – and I agree with others who fear that not voting for Trump is in essence casting a half vote for Hillary Clinton.
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be critical of respected Christian leaders like Al Mohler, Russell Moore, Max Lucado and others who have stated they cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump.
That brings me to the important challenge I want to make in this article. Let’s not allow this goofy election to divide us from fellow believers who disagree with us about what to do. Don’t become so adversarial and militant in your endorsement of a political candidate that you endanger your relationship with those who disagree with you. Jesus prayed that His followers would be united. Don’t allow Satan to divide you from the rest of Gods’ family. This election is complex, so put into practice that ancient slogan, ‘In doctrine unity; IN OPINION LIBERTY; and in all things charity.”
Last week I was forwarded a mean-spirited article which labeled Max Lucado a Pharisee and a wimp for his public criticism of Donald Trump. Max is a friend of mine and believe me, he is no Pharisee. And while he’s always a gentleman, I guarantee you, he is no wimp. He’s one of the most Christ-like and courageous men I’ve ever known. What a shame that such a Godly man would be so unfairly characterized by a fellow believer over a commitment to Donald Trump – of all things!
I’m reminded of an old story of a tour guide at the Louvre Art Museum who was honoring the classic paintings on display. An obnoxious guest kept mumbling about some perceived flaws of many of the works of art. The guide, who had grown to appreciate the genius of the master artists, finally had enough. When the haughty grumbler mocked again, the tour guide snapped, “Sir, the paintings aren’t on trial”.
That’s the way I feel about any criticism of Max Lucado. His exceptional record speaks for itself. I want to say, “Sir, he’s not on trial. You are”. Now I know Max doesn’t need my defense. He is so gracious that he doesn’t return insult for insult and consequently friends and admirers respect him even more.
However, I use that story to illustrate how ludicrous we can become in our passion for a political candidate- no matter how flawed. We sense the desperation of the present hour. We want what is best for our children and grandchildren. Our competitive juices flow. Our anger at the opposition intensifies. The mentality that “this is the last chance to save our country” becomes more imbedded in our thinking and, like Jesus’ disciples, we erroneously conclude that whoever is not for us is against us.
Someone pointed out, “Bitterness is like acid – it does more damage to the container in which it is stored than the one on whom it’s intended to be poured.” Even if we don’t retaliate, bitterness can sour our disposition, contaminate our relationships, and destroy our inner peace.
In our unrestrained passion we wind up making enemies of our brothers and sisters in Christ and Satan must giggle up his sleeve with glee. And the Lord must be very disappointed that we have so little faith in His power to make all things right regardless of who is in the Oval Office.
So be sure to vote. It’s your Christian duty. If you are convinced Donald Trump will really help this country get behind him and be passionate. But don’t be mean and divisive. Be smart enough and spiritually mature enough to give space to other believers who disagree with you, because, especially in this election, unity in Christ “trumps” political allegiance.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:2-6)