A recent survey conducted by the Evangelical Alliance (of which New Springs is a member church) concluded that less than one in ten Christians think politicians cannot be trusted to keep their manifesto promises. As far as the subject of trust is concerned, confidence in our politicians is at an all time low.
Surely, what we want to see is political leaders who are honourable, who keep their word and act with integrity. We want our politicians to be those who give voice to our concerns about religious liberty and the needs of the poor and oppressed, who speak out on behalf of the people, men and women who will vote in line with wholesome Godly values and Biblical principles and not just because there is a three line whip being cracked. What do you say?
On the other hand, that same survey showed that as many as nine out of every ten believers felt that the only way we are going to be able to restore political confidence and reverse the tide of decline and decay is if more Christians get involved in public leadership and speak up for good. By this they mean by being involved in matters such as local and national government, the media, education, law, community action and social justice, marriage and family policy as well as pro-actively working to eradicate the heinous blight of human trafficking and such like.
Now I find this interesting, for it would seem that 90% of those Christians surveyed believe that such engagement is very much a part of Jesus’ Great Commission and the responsibility He has given us as believers to follow His call to ‘go into all the world’ or more precisely, ‘to go into literally every area of our world.’
Basically what those surveyed were saying was – we need to personally get involved and have a positive influence.
Now one way we can all be involved in bringing about a much needed transformation is by exercising our vote. In years gone by, people have been willing to give their very lives so that you and I might have the privilege and opportunity to go to the ballot box today. This is something we should be forever grateful for. Turning up at the polling station on Thursday 7th May to cast your vote is the very least you can do. You see, elections matter and the freedom to exercise your vote is a luxury not afforded to people everywhere.
The truth is that the Christian vote matters now more than ever, especially as all the opinion polls routinely show how close the General Election is going to be. It would seem hung parliaments and coalition politics are here to stay. How Christians vote and in what numbers will undoubtedly have a significant bearing on the overall result.
I was listening to one Christian the other day who has already decided what he is going to do on May 7th. As I listened I couldn’t help wondering what a strange view he took and whether there was any wisdom at all in what he thought and planned to do. This is what He said…. ‘I can’t in good conscience vote for any of the political parties. When I consider how each of the parties has performed over recent years and how they have all broken their promises on key issues in one way or another – I just don’t want to waste my vote on any of them!’
The man continued, ‘I don’t want to be disengaged either, I value my democratic right to vote and I certainly do not want to be counted among the many who just fail to show up at the polls. I believe that is just plain wrong! So I intend to make a protest vote! This time around I’m going to turn up and simply spoil my ballot paper to make a point – I just don’t believe any of them are worth voting for!’
Now to my way of thinking this really is a strange way of going about things, at the end of the day all it adds up to is a vote wasted and an ill thought through protest which has absolutely no teeth.
Of course, our political system isn’t perfect by a long chalk, we all know that, but we are privileged to live in a country that is built on a democratic political system. This is a stark contrast to many other countries around the world where people are given no political rights whatsoever. This is something we can easily forget and dismiss in our frustration when things don’t go our way.
The point is, there may be glaring flaws in our political system, but the simple fact is – decisions are made and situations are changed by those who show up and vote – and not only that but by those who are prepared to use their vote wisely! Our whole democratic system is underpinned by voting, so for this reason it is a particularly powerful and important way to make our voices heard.
It’s true, politics is full of difficult and complex decisions and choosing who to vote for is one of them. This is why we would very much like to encourage you to come before the Lord this month and ask Him who He would have you to vote for on May 7th. Proverbs 3 verses 5-6 tells us that if ‘in all our ways we acknowledge Him, then He will direct our paths.’ And the good news is this includes who He would have us vote for next month.
The truth is we all have a valuable part to play where this coming General Election is concerned. Let us own that responsibility and get involved with shaping our nation. Listen, it’s okay to be frustrated, disappointed and even angry with politicians and the system but never let yourself get indifferent!
If you feel you would like some practical and wise help when it comes to knowing who you should vote for, why not check out the excellent website created by the national Christian organisation CARE.
You really will find it an invaluable resource that will help to equip you for the General Election. The website is available at: www.engage15.org.uk.