It’s another election, which means whatever “side” you’re on, you’re being told this particular election is pivotal in the future survival of society, if not the earth.
Take a deep breath. Now take another one. I have something to tell you.
You’re being manipulated.
At least, that’s the plan. To use you as a political pawn.
Let me tell you a story.
Six years ago, I was serving as a pastor in Minnesota. From what I could tell, the congregation was the closest mix of Democrats and Republicans I’ve experienced in a church in our denomination. That made things interesting every once in a while, but I kind of enjoyed it.
In that particular election, the Republican party placed an initiative on the ballot for a constitutional amendment to legislate marriage as between one man and one woman. The Democratic party was intent on making sure this initiative did not pass.
Churches – including ours – received a tremendous amount of pressure FROM BOTH SIDES(!) to put signs in their lawn and preach on this issue as (you guessed it) a pivotal moment in the survival or destruction of our society. Fear won the day.
The neat (and by that, I mean, NOT neat) thing was that as a pastor trying to figure out how to navigate this, we ended up not placing any signs on our church lawn, not making this the central point of any sermons, and instead encouraging one-on-one dialogue for those seeking Biblical clarity on this or any other issue. It seemed like a pretty well-reasoned approach.
Naturally, people got upset on several different levels.
For some, we didn’t say enough, by being unwilling to join the fray. For others, we said too much by saying anything at all. And all around town, you could see some church lawns with signs for the initiative, and other church lawns with signs against it.
And I have to imagine, Satan laughed, having successfully caused division and major distraction.
Meanwhile, as I dug deeper and researched more, I realized neither party cared so much about this issue as they cared about this issue stirring enough of a fervor that more of their party base would get off their duffs and vote, and in the process more people would vote for their candidates.
We were being played.
And every election since, I have been reminded of this.
Here’s the thing: I’m not trivializing the importance of the issues in that election or this one. I’m not downplaying the importance of going out and voting, and exercising responsible citizenship in making our voices heard in a democracy. I think it’s amazing how incredibly low voter turnout it, though my speculation is it’s because so many people are rightfully disillusioned by seeing how the “political hotdog” is made.
So what do we do about it?
Take a deep breath. Take another one. Realize this: God is still here. God is still over every king, president, government and politician, whether they acknowledge it or not. Now, here’s the important piece of advice:
Don’t put your trust in your government.
You will be sorely disappointed on a regular basis if you do. Trust God (I think I read that somewhere). Then use the brain, the heart, and the moral compass He gave you to make wise, thoughtful choices. Not reactionary ones, or over-reactionary ones.
Don’t vote out of fear, but out of love for your neighbor.
Maybe it’s okay to be a pawn. Pawns might be the weakest piece on the board, but they can still swing a game. I might be one vote in millions, but I can still impact an election.
I just don’t want to be a pawn moved by an elephant or a donkey.
I want to be a pawn who serves the King.
(See what I did there?)