Let's get political. Now that introduction probably piqued either your interest or your ire. What in the world does politics have to do with a religious column? The Bible answers that question when it records, "Doing what is right makes a nation great, but sin will bring disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34, NCV).
As we approach this political season, it is incumbent that we keep this passage in mind. Personally, I don't know why anyone would want to run for political office, let alone the office of the president. I am grateful, however, for men and women who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary in order to serve this great country. We need to lift them all (those who serve and those who are planning to serve) up in prayer. At Gateway we are doing just that and are in the midst of a 30-day prayer plan for our nation.
Candidates in all the parties run because they believe they have a plan that will best serve the needs of our country. I may not agree with the positions of a particular candidate (which is why I exercise my prerogative to vote), but I do believe that all of the candidates run because they truly believe that they can best serve our nation. Now I have my beliefs and positions and I will vote based upon my personal convictions. Will my candidates win? I don't know. What I do know is that whoever wins come November will be my president and my representatives and they will have my prayerful support. The Bible says, "The Lord controls rulers, just as he determines the course of rivers. We may think we are doing the right thing, but the Lord always knows what is in our hearts" (Proverbs 21:1-2, CEV).
This coming election is historic in so many ways. Neither being a prophet or the son of a prophet I am not going to comment further or speculate on any outcome. You have read my advice on the proper way to vote before, but let me repeat it: the correct way to vote is be aware of the issues and vote your conscience. That is the proper way to vote.
Regardless who your candidate is, what we need to remember is we all answer to a higher power. That is a truth we tend conveniently to forget today. Thomas Jefferson wrote, "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed the only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they cannot be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that His justice cannot sleep forever."
The issues that divide this country are ultimately not political issues. They are not issues of red versus blue states, of approaches of how to best solve the multi-faceted problems we face as a country; the issues that divide us are issues of the heart. We can change the way we do things, but unless there is a change of the heart, any changes we make really won't change anything in the long run. Again it was Thomas Jefferson who wrote, "The reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion in the world that deals with the heart."
4,000 plus years of recorded history give empirical evidence to the fact of original sin. 4,000 years of recorded history reveals that man is not basically good if left to himself. The Third Reich is a grim reminder of what happens when men become gods - the crafter and master of their own fates. The change we really need today is a change of heart and mind and only Christ has the power to bring about such change.
The hope of this nation is not going to be found in who sits in the Oval Office come January. The hope and only hope of this nation is who sits on the throne of the human heart and will.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org