Summary: What should we do on Election day? How do we make our decisions?

November 4, 2012

Romans 13:1-7

I’m looking forward to Wednesday . . . I think! I think, I hope the election is over. Hopefully there are no hanging chads, no uncounted votes, nothing to stop us from moving forward. There will be no more ads, no more smattering of ranting facebook opinions, and the robocalls. By the end of Tuesday, it’s estimated, one billion dollars will have been spent on advertising. As we take our yard signs down and recycle the piles of campaign literature, we might wonder: “Now what?”

In the end, a little over 50% of the country will be happy and a little under 50% of the country will not be happy. It just remains to be seen which half is which. This covers all of the elections, from national to state, county and local races.

In truth, the election is a distraction from what we are really supposed to be doing. Whether it’s an aggravating distraction or a pleasant one, whether it’s a hopeful use of time or one that makes us angry, the end of the election season returns us to our everyday lives.

Debbie and I were talking a few days ago about the flyers we’ve received in the mail about the election. She said we should probably look them over to see what the people stand for. I looked at each flyer and concluded it wasn’t worth it. Why? Not one piece of mail described what the candidates stood for, every flyer was negative advertisement about their opponent — telling me why I shouldn’t vote for this person or that person.

In all fairness, in the past couple of days, we have received a flyers and automated telephone calls telling us to vote for a certain party or certain individuals.

So, what should we do? How should we vote? I have my very specific ideas and beliefs, but I won’t tell you who to vote for, frankly, it’s illegal to tell you. It goes against the separation of church and state.

Should we vote for a Christian for each and every office? Not necessarily! WHAT, don’t vote for a Christian?!?! Well, it depends. What if you’re more liberal in your beliefs? Are you really going to vote for a George Bush? Or if you’re more conservative in your faith and ideology . . . are you going to vote for a Bill Clinton? Both Presidents attended Christian churches. So, what do you do?

I even listened to a very respected preacher talk about President Obama and Governor Romney; and he claimed neither was a Christian. I’m not touching that one with a 30 foot pole! Now what do you do?

So, how do we vote? What criteria do we use? Well, let me read a passage from Romans 13. It does not address the issue of voting, actually, I don’t believe there are scriptures which speak about voting, partly since they didn’t vote! This passage does speak to us about politics and those in political office.

1 Everyone must submit himself 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, he who 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 he will commend you.

4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent 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 because 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 everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

As you can see, in short, Paul’s reminding us to respect and to honor those who are in government positions. We are to submit to those government authorities, because, as Paul, explains they have been established by God. So, if you rebel against the government, you are rebelling against God. Now, that’s a pretty sobering picture for us. It does not mean we should just sit back and not be an advocate for change or seek to do what is right.

It means there is an authority above us, but below God. Ultimately, those who are in authority will have to answer to God for their actions or inactions. In the end, Paul reminds us in verse 5, not only do we to submit to government authorities because it is the right thing to do, but we do it because of our conscience. We do it because we submit to God and trust that God’s plan is the right plan, whether we understand it, like it or don’t like it.

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