I’m getting this question in some form a lot these days: How should I vote as a Christian? The latest version came via email, so thought I’d share the question and my answer here — with a few more thoughts added since — as a little bonus Ten Minute Truth. I hope it helps you as you think and pray things through.
Q: I’m trying to figure out if I’m going to vote or not this year. I have reason to think I need to, however unless I’m settling for second best, I can’t see myself voting. With hopes for me to gain a better understanding, can you share with me HOW to approach voting? Like what I need to be asking myself? And how God would have me act? I desire to honor God in my vote, only I’m unable to see how I can do that.
A: To start thinking about how to vote, or to make any choice really, we dig down to the foundations of what is true and work out from there.
In this case, we know that God is in control (Psalm 115:3, Isaiah 45:7), that He can work even evil for our good (Genesis 50:20, 2 Corinthians 4:15, Romans 8:28), and that He puts the rulers of nations in place (Romans 13:1, Daniel 2:21).
So already, I am more at ease. God will do as he pleases, and He will see His will accomplished. Whoever ascends to the presidency of what is currently the earth’s most powerful nation will be His choice, whether for the benefit of our country and the world, or for its judgment. He will remain righteous and good in choosing either.
(Side note: I personally doubt this election year means the end of all things, but if somehow it does, this should ultimately cause us joy and not sorrow as Christ-followers. Our hope is in the coming eternal kingdom and reign of Christ; if ours is in America or this world, we have strayed from the core of our faith. Hebrews 11:16; Titus 2:13; Philippians 1:23, 2 Timothy 4:8.)
This is where the rubber of truth hits the road, then: The natural, logical outworking of the biblical doctrines of God mentioned above means that whatever the outcome of the vote this November, God has allowed it and orchestrated it.
To achieve this end, it means that, yes, He will allow some people to vote for the Republican candidate, and He will allow some to vote for the Democratic candidate. There will be some who He allows to vote for a third party or to write in another option. There will be some who He allows to abstain, whether from conscience or from apathy.
So what about me? Does this mean I have no responsibility at all? If God’s got it covered, why does it matter what I do?
Actually, it matters a great deal. And that’s because God asks me to obey, and never to produce outcomes (read more about this here). He asks me to follow Him and trust Him, and He’ll take care of how it all turns out. He wants my heart, not my results. In fact, He’s already all over the results: Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Psalm 19:21).
So, therefore, it is up to me to get on my knees before God, and to dig in to His Word far more than I dig in to the news channels or my anger, and to surrender to His heart for my choices. Obedience, trust, and truth are what shapes me, not outcomes.
You say you currently feel that you cannot honor God by voting for either of the choices before you. We have a while to go before the election; maybe that feeling will change, and maybe it won’t.
But I believe that your choice, even if you come to the conclusion in prayer that you cannot vote, or that you will write in another candidate, or that you will ultimately choose what you see as the lesser of two evils, can all be places of conviction that can be directed by the Lord to achieve His will. If you are listening to Him and asking Him what to do, there is only obedience ahead of you, whatever box you check or do not check. God is not withholding obedience from His children who are earnestly seeking it (2 Chronicles 16:9; Isaiah 30:21).
Ultimately, to honor God with your vote means that you trust Him with the results. Hopefully this gives you peace about this decision, and less hope in your own choices, and in the end, a greater awe of our God who holds all things in place, no matter what we choose.