Exercising Our Civic Responsibility: What the Bible Says about Voting
by Betty Miller
Before we look at what the Bible says about voting, let us look at how our individual votes count.
Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Foxes sometimes, in search of food, would enter into the grape orchards and devour the grapes and spoil the crop. However, the little foxes were too small to reach the grape bunches so they would chew on the vines and it would kill the whole vine. Instead of the farmer just losing his crop, he would lose his vine which was more disastrous. Spiritually some things we do or allow that we might think are little or insignificant can also be disastrous for us.
Listed below are some of the “little foxes” that generally keep us from our civic responsibilities, in the area of voting. The devil uses these lies and others so that he can keep godly men and women away from the polls and get the candidates of his choice elected. If we do nothing, it makes it easy for the enemy to help those who could become the wrong leadership for our nation.
- “My one vote doesn’t count anyway.”
- “I’m disillusioned by the whole political process.”
- “I’m already too busy to take the time to cast an informed vote, so I just don’t vote at all.”
- “Politics are corrupt anyway and as a Christian I don’t want to be involved.”
These are just some of the excuses that people use to justify their failure to exercise their civil responsibility to vote. Only heaven will reveal the many opportunities that we had to change things for the better in this nation, yet, we failed to do so because we failed to use our right to vote. We do not realize the privilege we have to be able to have a voice in the choice of “who shall be our leaders and what kind of laws should govern our land.” If we were to go to a country that did not afford its people this right and live under the usual dictators that rule those countries, we might be more thankful for this advantage.
What the Bible Says About Voting…
The heart of God is expressed in the Bible as to His concern for government leaders and leadership by telling us as Christians that we should pray in this vein when we look at the admonition in the following verses:
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. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Should we not assume that if the Lord would have us pray for leaders, would He not also want us to use every opportunity to assist in electing the leaders that would be the best ones for promoting peace and righteousness? Yes, Jesus, himself said to “…Render unto Caesar the things that Caesar”.
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Matthew 22:16-21
Caesar was the Roman emperor at that time, so Jesus was telling them they were to pay their taxes, as well as support the work of God. These scriptures tell us as Christians that we are to be good citizens and pay our taxes as well. As good citizens in our government structure here in the U.S.A., we should not leave the operation of the government to ungodly men. How can we prevent that? One way is to use our one vote wisely. We will be accountable before God as to how we voted. Another issue will be did we spend the time in study and prayer so that we could vote wisely for the proper candidates, as well as the right issues?
As Christians we should consider how the candidates stand on the issues and not get caught in the trap of voting strictly along party lines. Check voting records and see which candidates most closely follow Biblical standards. Some Christians just vote the Democratic or the Republican ticket because their parents voted that way. We should vote for the best man or woman for the job. They should not only be qualified for the job but should be moral people with good character traits. Voting for someone just because they tell us certain things that sound good is not the way to vote.
Some young girls have married the wrong men because they were smooth talkers and those guys swayed them with their good sounding words. These girls regret their choices because the men played on their emotions and they later found out they had no character. We must live with our choices and living with someone with no character eventually destroys a marriage. Without the traits of faithfulness, honesty and unselfishness these marriages usually fail. So it is true with the leaders we elect. We must have good honest leaders if we are to live in a national environment that will produce peace and harmony and create benefits that will be fair to all. The Bible tells us that if a man is not faithful in small things, he will not be faithful in the larger matters. Luke 16:10: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
According to George Barna in his book, The Second Coming of the Church, the number of Christians that registered to vote in a poll taken in 1997 was 83% as compared to 79% of non-Christians. Then, in a more recent report, regarding Christians who vote, WallBuilders.com reported that from 1992 to 2000 there was a 40% total decrease in Christians who voted. They also reported that out of the 60 million evangelicals in America in 2000 only 15 million voted and that some 24 million (40%) evangelicals were not even registered to vote. If we have complaints about those in leadership that are immoral and the new laws that have been passed that are offensive and anti-Biblical; we might lay the complaint at the steps of the church. What about our responsibility as good citizens? Are you registered to vote? Will you take the time to study the voting records and lifestyles of candidates? Which candidates most closely follow Bible standards? Will you set apart some time to pray about who would make the best leader? Will you take time to study the propositions? How will voting “for” or “against” an issue affect God’s plans for humanity? Then, most importantly…WILL YOU VOTE?
Guideline for Christian Voters:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Timothy 2: 1-2
We are called to pray for our leaders so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and honesty. If God wants us to pray for those in authority, then surely He wants us to pray about who we should vote for in every election. Because we have friends who are both Democrats and Republicans and Independents who are Christians, I felt it might be helpful to share some basic things when making any political choice for the presidential candidates and any other political office, local and national, and vote with those precepts and principles in mind. Our vote should not be based on someone’s skin color or ethnic background, traditional background, or whether they are male or female, or Democrat or Republican, as there are good and bad people in all of these categories. The most important thing when voting is not whether we are a Republican or Democrat or any other party, but rather what Biblical principles are we following when choosing any candidate for an office. Here are some guidelines that we pray will be helpful.
1.) Are the candidates qualified for the particular office they are running for? You would not what someone operating on you that was not qualified to do the surgery, neither do you want someone who is not qualified, nor experienced in governmental matters to be in a position of authority they are not qualified for or they do not have enough knowledge and experience for the job. Without experience and the proper qualifications, bad decisions made by those in power will affect all of the people adversely and sometimes it is years before they can even be reversed, if ever.
Hosea 4:6a: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge—“
2.) What have they said? What is their past voting record? For all of us, the words we say and the deeds we do determine who we really are. Talk is cheap, as that is probably the main problem the average person has with most politicians of the past, they have promised much and delivered little. Certainly we need to allow politicians to change their opinions in certain areas that are fluid themselves (i.g. the war, the economy, etc.) These kinds of situations require a different approach because the circumstances have now changed or sometimes they have been given additional information later that they did not have when making their original decision or vote in the matter. However, changing a judgment about a matter is different than saying something in order to get votes or win favor at the moment. Some politicians will lie for the moment just to get into office so we must check for the truth and the facts in controversial matters.
Proverbs 12:19: “The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”
3.) Who do they associate with? The old adage of “birds of a feather flock together” reveals our own nature. People we associate with or have been associated with, definitely have an influence in what we believe. We all hang out with the people we like and whom we have things in common with. The choice of our friends and associates reveal our own beliefs, and ideology. We even use the expression, “Look at the crowd they are running with.”
Proverbs 22:24: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
Proverbs 13:20: “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Proverbs 14:7: “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”
4.) How do they stand on the life and death issues like abortion and euthanasia? In essence the answer to these questions will determine their integrity and character. Character is very important to me personally and what they believe about abortion is of major concern to me as anyone who does not see that abortion is murder has either bad character, flawed judgment or is grossly deceived and I would not want that person in a position of authority. For instance, if they believe in euthanasia, I ponder, what if I was that person that was dispensable in their judgment? I think the Bible is very clear that He is the One who should be in charge of life and death situations regarding birth and death, not any man. How it must grieve the heart of God that over 57 million babies have been aborted in our nation at the time of this writing. The Bible clearly states we will come under judgment for this action. As Christians, if we vote for someone who believes in abortion, then we share in the guilt of this crime and the Bible says we will suffer a curse on our land for it and that curse is death in our land.
Proverbs 6:16-17: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.”
Deuteronomy 27:25: “Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person.”
Deuteronomy 19:10: “That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.”
5.) It is very important to saturate our decisions in prayer so we can get the Holy Spirit’s approval to our choices since He sees the hearts of men and can warn us if we are leaning in the wrong direction in our decisions. We must remember we are not voting for perfect people, but certainly some people are better than others and the Holy Spirit can give us spiritual insight as to who these men and women might be. Candidates can fool people by their persuasive rhetoric, but they cannot fool God and if we stay close to God, He will guide us in the best choice for each office. Remember, “by their fruits ye shall know them.”
6.) Lastly, we must understand if we vote for a candidate or a party, we are not only voting for the person or the party, but we are voting or agreeing to the things they are proposing and if these things are not in agreement with the Word of God, then we are siding against God and His Word. If we give support to anti-Biblical things or support to anti-Biblical ways of implementing them, then we are going against Christian principles. The Word of God is very clear that when we agree with God we will be blessed, but when we agree with things that are against His Word then we will receive a curse.
I pray this is a helpful guide in helping you to select those who will rule over us as we will be blessed or cursed by our choices. May we choose wisely.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Deuteronomy 30:19
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Topic: What the Bible Says about Voting
Related Topics: What the Bible Says about Free Will-Choices Creating Our Future; Freedom of Speech; Praising God in all Circumstances; New Believers Instructions; Faith