Unless you gave up taking in any form of news for Lent and then some, you are aware that Canada is in the throes of concluding a federal election campaign. On Monday, we will have the opportunity to elect a government to give leadership to our nation.
In this day and age, I think politics is an even more controversial topic for conversation than religion; there is such division between parties, and such acrimony between leaders and even individual voters over party politics in Canada today that it is difficult to have even a genteel conversation about politics in our country anymore.
Not even all followers of Christ agree on what party should be elected. There is so much that is not as black-and-white. There are biblical principles sincerely held by each party, and there are principles contrary to the Word of God that are sincerely held by each party. We can’t say that any one party or leader is truly “of God”, even though most of us probably have an opinion as to who or which is closer!
But this much we do know: whether it knows it or not, the government is supposed to work for God for the betterment of the people. I don’t think the apostle Paul was being naive when he wrote to the church in Rome, “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13.1, NLT).
In the culture from which Paul wrote, the government was multi-faceted and wielded a largely unchecked authority. It could be both patronizing and brutal at the same time. Yet Paul said that the government is put in place by God.
I think this leaves followers of Jesus with a special responsibility as voters. If anybody knows God’s will, it should be Christians. And if God’s will is to be exercised by the government, then we do well to elect a government that will best be able to fulfill the divine mandate.
Again, we’re not all going to agree on which party should form that government, but hopefully, we can all agree that we cannot set aside our beliefs when we mark our ballots. Because if those in positions of authority have been placed there by God, in our democratic system, God is using us to place them.
Please remember to vote on Monday.