Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have become household names over the past few months as the bid for the white house draws near. This election is one of the most important in our history, yet it’s bringing out the worst in people.
Well-meaning Christians are hurling insults, drawing battle lines and ending long- term friendships simply because a person’s vote is different than theirs. I’d love to say the choice is an easy one, but it is far from it.
Hot-button topics such as gun control, immigration, and economic stability are just some of the issues that will be decided depending on which person takes their seat in the Oval Office. When searching for a president, however, other issues need to be addressed, such as how does each candidate treat the poor? Are they good stewards of the money God has given them? What about their character? Are they honest? Are they looking to elevate themselves out of selfish ambition, or do they elevate only themselves?
For those of you who are still on the fence about whom you will push your lever for in the voting booth, here is a question I’m sure you are grappling with:
How do I vote without losing my integrity?
Integrity is a word that isn’t often used yet plays a major role in who should assume the role of our next leader. As Christians, integrity is a word that should be at the forefront of our minds in deciding who should be president. Voting for someone based on a party affiliation is no longer a viable option since neither of those parties’ promises to restore Christian values back to our nation. Rather, we should be voting based on which candidate has the best character.
The book of Malachi has something to say to leaders who have allowed less than stellar offerings onto the altar: “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’
‘By offering defiled food on my altar.’ ‘But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’
‘By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible.’ ‘When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong?’ ‘When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong?’ ‘Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?’ says the Lord Almighty”’ (Malachi 1:7-8).
God wasn’t angry at the people who brought those second-rate animal sacrifices. Instead, he turned his anger toward the leaders who saw those flawed sacrifices and didn’t say a word. In this life, we will be judged not only what we do and say, but also what we don’t do and say. As leaders, we have to set the example to those in our churches. This election is no different. Allowing a candidate’s sin to be overshadowed on whom they may or may not elect as replacements in other branches of our government is still giving God less than our best.
Here are four ways you as a leader can weigh your options without losing your integrity:
Respect others’ opinions– Devout Christians affiliated with both parties are struggling with this decision. Be educated on the issues and where each candidate stands. Don’t assume a particular stance simply because of a past president’s beliefs. 1 and 2 Kings record the events of the kings during that time in history. Some were good and some were bad, and God still ruled over all. In our history, there will be good presidents and bad ones, yet God still reigns over us all.
Be open-minded- While it’s great people are vocalizing their strong opinions about the issues our country faces, use your influence to engage people face to face, making room for other people’s opinions to be expressed and heard. Use it as an opportunity to host a friendly debate. Study the bible. See where people who don’t share your view are coming from.
Be informed- Ephesians 4:29 tells us to use our words to build up, not to tear down. Facebook is no different. Social media is not the place to share your view, for it only divides not unifies. It also is a breeding ground for candidates’ statements to be taken out of context and twisted, making the truth more difficult to uncover. Check your facts. Sharing a post without checking its validity reduces your credibility and may slander someone’s name and ruin his/her reputation in the process.
Vote your conscience– Trump and Clinton are not the only choices for president. A few third party candidates have arisen as a result of America’s disenchantment with the main party choices. Investigate their stance on the issues. Does a third party candidate align most with your values? Most people want to vote for the person they think can win, not the one who best aligns with their beliefs. Voting your conscience is never a wasted vote.
Voting this year will be a difficult decision for all of us. But Jesus has a comforting word about this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-award winning author, speaker, pastors’ wife and mother. She loves helping people reach their potential and writes for various websites such as Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership and The Christian Communicator. Her newest book An Invitation To The Table helps people incorporate hospitality into their everyday lives. To learn more about Michelle, visit her website and follow her on Twitter at @mslazurek or on Facebook.