How should we vote?

Simple.

Prayerfully. Intelligently.

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and ALL who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives, marked by godliness and dignity.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT

Voting for the government that will lead our nation forward is serious business.

The Apostle Paul does not suggest ridicule or criticism of those in national leadership – but rather prayer – as the decisions that they make affect the environment, culture, values and future prosperity of Australia.

Our Church is ‘apolitical’.

We do not take a ‘side’ or support a particular political party.

No party ‘has us in the bag’ .. and I like that.

It’s up to each individual to prayerfully and intelligently decide who will be positioned to lead us well.

So as individuals, who have been given the right to decide who leads us as a nation – a right that many around the world do not have – here are a few considerations, in the lead up to this election.

How NOT to vote:

1. Voting for the party your family has always voted for. Things change, parties change. Priorities change. Where a party and candidate sits right now- today – is what matters.

2. Image, personality and popularity of a particular leader. In a 24hr news cycle–  that does a brilliant job at ridiculing and creating caricatures of our leaders – its important to look deeper at the values, strategies and policies that a political party or independent candidate will bring. We are not voting for personality – were voting for a set of priorities, beliefs and values that various parties represent. There are so many filters in the media depending which TV channel, journalist or social media account you follow.

3. Fistful of dollars. Thinking short term about how will I benefit financially about what may be promised – is incredibly myopic and selfish. Self-interest is something all of us have to contend with and need to think beyond ourselves.

4. Politicians who ‘say they’re a Christian’. Just because someone says they are a Christian, doesn’t mean they are living by Christian values. A lot of things get said and promised around election time. Look a bit deeper at where candidates and parties are actually positioned on national issues. (see websites below)

How TO vote:

1. Others. Think about others. Matthew 25: 37-40 suggests that our treatment of people who can be forgotten, overlooked and excluded is absolutely vital to Jesus and He takes it very personally! There are people who are disadvantaged and marginalized in our own nation and around the world. There are our Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people who still experience enormous disadvantage in our nation – and it shouldn’t be so. Considering the well-being and treatment of others is absolutely a priority.

2. Values. Prov 14:34 says “Godliness makes a nation great”. The Judeo-Christian ethic has been part of Australia’s value system since colonization. We have not always gotten this right – but these values have played a huge part in taking our nation to where we are today. May we not forget the values that have made this nation great – may we continue to build on them. Prosperity and blessing are Bible words, and we want our nation to be blessed. We want ALL our people to prosper – in every way. Values are foundational.

3. Freedom. Jesus made it clear in Matt 28: 18 that it was His intention that the gospel go into all the world, which He freely proclaimed and communicated. The religious freedom we enjoy in Australia is something that needs to be protected. The right to be respected and included – not ridiculed and marginalized for what you believe – is important.

4. Intelligently. Proverbs 4:7 – “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do..” Throwing money only at a problem will not solve the problem. Problems need strategies that are financed appropriately which can then bring solution. Go deeper than the ‘fistfull of dollars’! Look at the plans and strategies being promised.

Not so long ago, I met a pastor who had been imprisoned for 6 years in his nation. He came to Australia through the aid and assistance of Open Doors and Amnesty International.

He experienced torture, persecution and thought he would never live to see his family again.

He now lives with his family in Australia.

I will never forget these words he said to me:

“…. Use your freedom well!”

Costly, weighty words.

May we use our freedom well.


 

Some websites that may help you dig a bit deeper into where particular parties stand include:

1. www.sydneycatholic.org/downloads/CAS-2016-Federal-Election-Guide.pdf

2. www.acl.org.au Australian Christian Lobby

3. www.christianvalues.org.au