Next week Americans will go to the polls and elect the President of the United States, a time-honored tradition since the founding of our nation. The people will determine the person to occupy what can be arguably described as the most powerful position in the world. And, four years later, that person will submit once again to the judgment of the people. The election of our president and other government officials is essential to the political experiment our forefathers launched 224 years ago to establish a nation governed “of the people, for the people and by the people.”
People typically vote for the candidate they believe will provide peace, security and economic prosperity. We typically ask ourselves, “Am I better off than I was four years ago? Is the world a safer place?”
It would be helpful to consider the standards by which God judges our nation and its leaders. What are the questions that God asks of us? Every nation, every political leader and every person is ultimately held accountable to God. The Bible makes God’s expectations clear.
Proverbs puts it simply: “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” In Jeremiah’s day God issued strong warnings, saying, ““Why should I pardon you? Your sons have forsaken Me and sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the harlot’s house. “They were well-fed lusty horses, Each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife. Shall I not punish these people,” declares the LORD, “And on a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?.” (Jeremiah 5:7-9). “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely.” (Jer. 6:13).“
And again, "For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” (Jer. 7:5-7).
As we approach this election we are reminded that we have choices, but the most important choices that will determine our future are not as simple as marking a ballot and casting a vote. The more important choices we face deal with issues of honesty, generosity, compassion, truthfulness, acceptance, forgiveness, faith and faithfulness. We are all faced with these choices every day, and these are the choices that make or break a nation. Any nation that chooses these things sets its path toward greatness. Any nation that chooses promiscuity, greed, prejudice, and deceit chooses a path that leads to decline and ultimate ruin.
Bill Tinsley is a 1965 graduate of CHS. He served as Executive for Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention and Associate Executive for BGCT. He currently leads The Tinsley Center providing resources for pastors and churches. He may be reached by email email@example.com. Want to “soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org