Inspired Election Choices

Article excerpt

OVER the next few months, citizens in the United States and in other nations will be going to the polls in order to elect leaders at many different levels of government. Such choices are not always easy to make. Cynicism, confusion, and frustration are just some of the factors that may cloud our thoughts as we think about choosing government leaders. Yet prayer for our government--whether we live in Brazil, the United States, Germany, or Japan--is vital. The author of the first letter to Timothy, in the New Testament, specifically says, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (2:1, 2). Prayer based on these Biblical qualities of godliness and honesty helps us to choose our leaders wisely. A prime example of such qualities was Christ Jesus, whose honesty was uncompromising--as, for example, when he whipped the moneychangers out of the temple (see Matthew 21:12, 13). His ability to heal, his unshakable confidence in God, and his willingness to forgive certainly illustrate a profound ability to love and to express godliness. As we think about choosing among candidates, we can look specifically for such elements as we ask: Is this someone who is devoted to healing the wounds in society, to restoring broken connections in the community, to helping people to prosper through good, life-affirming activities? What does the individual feel is important for society, for our nation, and the world? What qualities does the candidate express that will help society to find more than superficial answers? Is he or she loving, good, intelligent, and willing to behave with integrity? Such spiritual qualities will help us to find common ground. And to the degree that he or she strives to take a loving approach to individuals at all levels of the society, the candidate is expressing godliness and honesty even if he or she wouldn't use those particular terms. …