Love is patient, love is kind…it keeps no record of wrongs. -1 Corinthians 13
I have a candidate. I shake my head wildly almost to the point of needing to go to the chiropractor. I see flaws. Oh, so many flaws. And yet here I am.
I am voting. Yes, I’m even voting for a major party candidate in the presidential election.
A Facebook friend posted this very eye-opening challenge:
How wonderful would it be if every conservative, evangelical Christian were willing to forgive their fellow human beings as much as they are willing to forgive the Republican presidential candidate’s sins.
To vote for either Trump or Clinton requires overlooking a vast array of sins and character flaws. Both candidates have stayed in the race amidst scandals that in years past have ended a candidate’s bid for the presidency. (Famously, Gary Hart and John Edwards.) Most Americans want Hillary Clinton indicted for the email scandal (source). Women are coming forward, one by one, with accusations and stories of Trump’s inappropriate conduct.
And even in the midst of scandal we must vote. Well, we don’t *have to* but it’s a right I want to use.
So, Am I Overlooking Evil?
Am I eager to gloss over the mistakes and sins of my candidate, simply because that person is my candidate?
In the Old Testament the children of Israel wanted a king. God did not want them to be like any and every other nation who had a physical king, He wanted to be their everything (1 Samuel 8:19-20.) As time went on the people had good kings and evil kings. Those kings called “evil” in the Bible are those who primarily participated in idol worship, child sacrifice, sexual sins and had no interest in honoring the One True God. One of the most notorious evil kings is Manasseh (king of Judah) who sacrificed his own child on an altar, worshiped the stars and participated in practices of the occult (2 Kings 21.) King Ahab did evil, more than any other king before him. He worshiped other gods and allowed his own desire for prestige to cost him the lives of two of his sons.
Evil is a big deal. An evil person whose heart is far away from God leads a nation in that direction. (That’s not only true of ancient Israel, but we have seen that here in America. I wrote about my own frustration with the evil in our country here. )
So in looking at our presidential candidates it is important to ask, “Is this person evil?” Does this person have a history of evil choices or behavior? Has this person taken responsibility for and/or apologized for evil behavior of the past? Does this candidate support evil policies? Is the candidate antagonistic toward the Christian faith?
In my mind I can answer those questions and choose one candidate over another, even with the mess and the baggage of the past.
We Are (All) Everyday People
I can’t help but wonder why it’s so much more difficult to treat others with such grace. We rally behind a candidate in whom we see promise, but find it difficult to see promise in everyday people.
*Those outside the religious circle become the enemy (because their choices, immoral lifestyles) or a project.
*Those who are struggling are often afraid to open up to Christians because they think they’ll find judgement instead of love.
There is a difference between policy and personal relationships. Or perhaps a better way to say it is this… There are moral, Biblical standards which God desires for us and those are best for our nation. We applaud those as righteous standards. We can share memes and information about our candidate on social media. At the same time we must have those personal relationships where we show the grace and love of Jesus to those whose lives and lifestyles make us uncomfortable. Fighting the urge to be abrasive. While voting for a candidate with a moral party platform is beneficial to the nation, how we speak to and about those who don’t share our belief in Christ shapes how many view Jesus himself.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. -Colossians 4:6