In the Spring of 1998, I took an Old Testament course with Dr. Ralph Davis. Fifty percent of our final grade was to write a paper answering this question:
From a study of 1 & 2 Kings, what do you think is the dominant message of the book?
My summary statement included this:
The condition of a king’s heart was the gauge by which you could measure the nation.
Before you go giving me credit, I recall my mother’s voice ringing in my head. It was she who gave it to me. I remember calling her and asking the question to her. She said, “so as the king goes, goes also the nation.” I changed it up a bit to make it my own, but really, it came from her wisdom and decades of studying the Word of God. It’s a beautiful thing to have a mother who knows the Word of God so well. I think she nailed it. For that is indeed a major theme ringing throughout all of the Old Testament.
Fast forward 22 years . . . regarding the upcoming election . . .
I think today my mother would say “vote your values.” I know this because she calls me every other day telling me to go to some website and listen, watch or read their latest encouragement to do just that: vote your values. But I have a problem with that because my values cannot be measured by the Democrat or Republican party. The core values that each of these parties’ tout when railing against the other party, does not line up with what is in my heart and mind.
I am truly concerned about what humans have done to the planet, and I think the consequences are proving to be devastating.
I am truly concerned that good healthcare is not affordable for me at the age of 60.
I am truly concerned that I turn a blind eye to the thousands of people walking through Mexico to try and get to the United States.
I am truly concerned that over a hundred years after the civil war, African Americans still feel like they don’t matter.
Gosh, it sounds like I may be a liberal!
However, with the exception of voting for Ross Perot in 1992, I have voted republican in every presidential election since 1983.
To say vote your values doesn’t help me decide.
At the top of my values list is
to live all of my life in the presence of God,
seeking to look like Jesus in every encounter,
and praying that I can be useable for Kingdom advancing activities.
Sunday through Saturday.
You see, before the age of 22, I was a Sunday only Christian.
Since then, there has never been a President of the United States who has prevented me from practicing my values. While I can’t see into the future–neither can you–I strongly think that whoever makes it to the White House will not prevent me from living for Jesus during the next four years. Often it is in the midst of severe trial and tribulation that the Gospel is advanced even more so than in times of peace for the Church of God. I was reminded recently that “God’s messianic plan is still in place and there is nothing you or I (nor the next President) can do to thwart it.” I added that parentheses part.
But I must say this. I hate bullies and I hate arrogance. Throughout my reading of the Old Testament during the past four months, I see bullies and pride. Without repentance, their downfall is sure, yet not always swift. I think most Americans would agree that one of our candidates exudes this more than the other. And, I truly am tired of being told that character doesn’t matter. I think it matters greatly. It’s something I value greatly. So perhaps I am voting my values in 2020.