I really do hate the General Election.
I hate driving down the street and seeing the airbrushed faces of all our politicians staring at me for weeks on end, to the point where I’m debating who had the largest budget for their posters on the basis of the quality of the photo.
I hate watching Enda Kenny visit the local cheesemonger in Westport as part of the Six-One news.
I hate watching Gerry Adams wave in front of some geese at a lake in Dundalk as part of his latest publicity shoot.
I won’t lie. Sometimes, I think it would’ve been easier to live in Jesus’ time. He didn’t have to vote. One simply obeyed Caesar. You didn’t have the responsibility of choosing a leader. You just got a leader, and you dealt with it. The idea that my tiny mind can work out who a good leader is, and who isn’t, just by watching them on TV, listening to them on the radio, or through a 5 minute conversation on my doorstep is ridiculous. It’s utterly mental. How do I know who is telling the truth? How do I know who to trust?
Michael wrote an excellent piece last week outlining a few questions that you can ask to help you inform your decision come February 26th. There are some important issues that we can stand up for as the people of God.
Be it the homeless.
Be it the vulnerable.
Be it the issue of climate change and the harming of our planet.
I echo what Michael said, and urge you to put pressure on your local representatives to think about these issues. Let them know what matters to you, and therefore what matters to God.
But what about when it comes to actually voting?
I don’t know if you realise this, but Jesus didn’t really involve himself in politics when he was on Earth. The only thing he ever really taught his disciples was that they should respect the nation’s leaders.
“Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”
– Mark 12:17
The apostle Paul also teaches in Romans 13 – “Let every soul, be subject to the governing authorities”. It is certainly a Christian responsibility to obey those you govern.
Despite what I’ve said about the difficulties that exist when it comes to deciding who to vote for, it is important to be as considerate and prayerful as you can in what you decide to do. However, we must also consider that Jesus didn’t concern himself with trying to fight with the government of the day. He didn’t seek to overthrow those who were in power. It didn’t seem important to Him who ruled.
This was with good reason. The message He preached was about government. The only thing was, it was about the Government that He would bring. Jesus spoke about the rule that will ultimately come from God. He spoke of a Father who rules, a Father who loves, and a Father who would reconcile everything to Himself when all was said and done.
He spoke of a Father who cared for the meek, the blind, the lame, the sick, the helpless and the lost. And these were all things that He and His disciples didn’t rely on the government for. He and they didn’t need a certain person to be in charge, or to have a certain amount of money in their pocket to make a difference, and to have His will, as the Lord’s Prayer says, done ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’.
The Government of the day having certain values and morals matters, but not as much as the values of the Kingdom that we, as the children of God, can bring regardless of who is in charge.
We only have to look to Jesus’ attitude to the prospect of political power while He was on Earth to see where his priorities lay.
For example, you may have read about the time many of Jesus’ followers were so impressed with his ability to feed 5,000 men, with five loaves of bread and two fish that they attempted to take Him by force and make Him king.
Read John 6:5-15. It really happened.
If Jesus’ wanted to overthrow the Government, He could have. But He didn’t.
So yeah, I hate the election. And I don’t know who to vote for. But that’s ok. Jesus didn’t make politics the most important thing, and whatever I decide to do, it won’t stop His Kingdom coming.