Well, the most disgusting presidential campaign in my voting lifetime is over. For that I thank God. Let’s take a really big breath. In through the nose. Hold it. Out through the mouth. There. Feel better?
No? I didn’t think so.
At the risk of simply causing more angst, I want to help my few readers reflect a bit. Hopefully, this will help and not hurt. And I especially want to focus our church on what matters most now, in the aftermath.
- To those of my well-meaning brothers and sisters who chided me for “voting my conscience” (which for me meant a write-in vote for Tom Hoefling), I want to ask that you realize what a gift God gave me. He allowed me a legitimate write-in option that did not force me to wrestle my conscience to the ground, crawl over it, and vote for a candidate with horribly immoral character. The Christian conscience matters greatly. If we believe it is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit and formed into the image of Christ, if we believe we “have the mind of Christ” then conscience is a big deal! We are told to live out our faith with a clear conscience (1 Peter 3:16; see also Acts 24:16; 1 Tim 3:9). We do not want to become “seared in our conscience” (1 Tim 4:2). So, while our inner thought life might not be a completely infallible guide (1 John 3:21), it is a dangerous practice for Christians to ignore, suppress, or just plain beat back their consciences. If you justified such a thing too easily, I gently urge you to humbly pray Psalm 139:23-24. Only God can speak to your conscience. Only God can change you at that level. Seek Him. Our consciences should always be only beholden to God and His Word.
- To those who voted differently than me, and who cast their vote for Trump with a clean conscience before God, I confess I am grateful that Clinton did not win. I do think she would have been even worse than Trump in the matter of critical moral issues such as abortion, as well as other issues such as national defense. I stick to my guns, though, that a President Trump is still an act of Divine judgment on the United States. I hope the next four years prove me wrong! And I am thankful our Lord is so good that He is still sprinkling mercy even in the midst of His acts of judgment against our nation. His mercies are seen especially in some of the congressional and state and local elections across the land. Why is God still even allowing us to remain a mostly free people, with glimmers of hope? It’s all of His mercy! Praise the Lord! His judgments are righteous. His mercies are sweet. Praise the Lord!
- To the Republican Party, are you listening? An unprecedented number of us did not vote for either major party candidate. I realize the bureaucrats may ignore my voice, but for me this election changed a lot of things. I used to settle for “the lesser of two evils.” After all, the Gospel tells me I am always voting for a sinner in need of grace. But this is the first election where neither front-runner even had a modicum of upright character. In the past, the “lesser” candidates still had decent moral character. Reagan / Carter. Both President’s Bush. Romney. McCain. And though I have not agreed with much of anything he has done, President Obama has at least not womanized in office, or if he has we have somehow been kept in the dark about it. So to the Republican Party I say, “If you want my vote in the future presidential races, you had better give me a candidate of character. Character matters!
- On a totally political note, am I the only one who struggles with the whole “electoral college” thing? I think it was a great idea back in the day. But in the 21st century, can’t we just let the candidate who garners the most votes win? Period? I mean think of it. There is always a distinct possibility that your vote actually will not count for squat! This is what some of my critics warned me of when I announced my intention to write in Tom Hoefling. “You’re wasting your vote.” Well, first I say the highest purpose of a vote is not to pick only someone you think can actually win. But secondly, I say if Trump had won Indiana, but lost nationally, your vote would have been wasted too! In fact, my votes for the last two presidential races accomplished precisely that – a whole bunch of nothing. It can get depressing. If we truly want every American to believe “every vote counts,” then maybe we should rethink the electoral college. And no, I am not smart enough to say much more than that.
Now, on to much more significant things. Dear Church of the Living God, let me address you for a moment. As believers in post-Christian America, we had better start to get a handle on these things right quick:
- God is sovereign. To say things like “if people in the 90s had not voted for a third party candidate we would have never had President Bill Clinton” as a way to warn others not to vote their conscience, is just false. The world may argue with that logic, but Bible believers should not. There is absolutely no way we could have had anyone other than President Bill Clinton! And there is absolutely no way we could have had any winner yesterday other than Donald Trump. Sure, God uses human means to accomplish His will, but make no mistake, there is only one vote that really counts when it comes to world rulers (1 Sam 2; Psalm 75:5; 103:19; Dan 2:21; 4:17; Luke 1:52; Rom 13:1-7). Friends, when the Holy Spirit says through Paul that God “works all things after the counsel of His will” He means it. And as Christians we must take great comfort in it. There is only and ever One King.
- Related to the above, evangelical believers are going to have to learn to rest in God’s control of all things. This would stop all our fear-mongering and anxiety. To hear some of the Christians I know talk prior to this election, my vote was going to throw the entire nation into an irreversible tail spin (as if we’ve not been in that death spiral for decades already now). Don’t get me wrong, I take voting seriously. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, it’s just that it doesn’t ultimately matter. I know God may allow America to last until Christ returns, but He also may not. I know every nation is headed to the feet of King Jesus. All peoples will acknowledge Him as Lord (Phil 2). I went to sleep well before the results were in last night. I slept well. No anxiety, by God’s grace. Why? Because I knew when I awoke this morning King Jesus would still be at His Father’s right hand, interceding for His blood-bought people and waiting until His enemies be made His footstool. Rest easy Church. Rest easy. This world is not our home. We’re living for an eternal kingdom. A fearful, anxious Church diminishes the glory of Christ in this world.
- Moral authority. The Church has been steadily losing it for 30-50 years. When we try to speak to cultural issues of our day, we’re basically ignored. And no, I do not think for a second electing Donald Trump has changed that reality. Our voice is mocked and ignored. Why? Perhaps because we’re morally inconsistent. We cry out for former President Clinton’s head on a platter when he proves unfaithful to his wife, and then turn around and throw our full weight behind a candidate whose womanizing ways probably make Mr. Clinton blush. And perhaps our moral authority is gone because those calling themselves Christians support the democratic party platform, which calls evil good and good evil. Think on it Church. Think on it. “Judgment must begin in the household of God”(1 Peter 4:17). We need to repent and return to our First Love. And we had better get used to the idea of being the lone prophetic voice denouncing the evil and corruption of our nation and her peoples, where ever it is found. And yes, that includes the logs in our own eyes (Matt 7:1-5).
- Mission. It has not changed. O Church arise! This election did not even remotely impact our mission from our Savior to go make Him known to our neighbors and to the peoples of the world. Be grateful we have freedom still to preach Jesus on the street corners (at least on most streets). Ask God to help us leverage our wealth and our freedom to get the Gospel to more people in more places! Stay on mission. Stay on point. Don’t lose focus on lesser things. Unite around the flag stained with the blood of our Savior, slain in place of sinners, risen for our justification!
- Gospel. This is what Christians are supposed to be most about, whether in China or Corydon. What kind of nation gives us Trump and Clinton as our two primary representatives? The kind of nation that is lost and dying and walking in darkness under demonic domination. The kind of nation that needs the Gospel. The darker the American night gets, the brighter the Light of the World shines! If we were all as passionate about promoting Jesus as we have been about promoting our favorite candidates this year, our churches would have probably doubled in size over the last 11 months! God make us gospel people through and through.
- Pray. We must now pray for President-elect Trump. Like never before. He needs to be humbled and he needs to, for the first time in his life, ask God to forgive him of his sins. Imagine this happening in the White House! Our God is able. Let’s cry out to Him on behalf of all our leaders (1 Tim 2:1-8) that we might continue to live in peace and have the ability to freely spread the Gospel.
- Confession and Forgiveness. Last but in no way least, if you or I have said things that other believers in Christ may have found offensive or personally hurtful during this crazy election cycle, let’s seek grace from God to humble ourselves, confess our sins to one another, pray for one another and be healed (James 5:16). The Savior who unites us is far bigger than any political differences or personality quirks. Let’s not dishonor His name by refusing to ask for forgiveness where needed. Let’s display that radical love by which all men may know that we are His disciples (John 13:35). Let’s link arms to take His love and message into the culture of death and darkness. We need each other beloved. More now than ever. Don’t forget it.