The Vice and Virtue of Voting

Today across the United States, Americans will go to the polls to vote for governors, senators, congressmen, and local officials. Here in Nashville there are constitutional amendments on the ballot that range from gay marriage to how many months in advance our local mayor has to present his budget to the council. This is a day Americans get to exercise our unique freedom to have our voices be heard. And yet as we contemplate voting there is always a bittersweet feeling in the air.

On the one hand, there is the virtue of voting which says that I participate in my government and I have a say in what happens. It is the act of going beyond complaining and griping, getting up and standing in line, standing over a voting booth and having the power of voting “yes” or “no,” for one person over the other. This is the basic democratic way.

There is also a vice involved, or a letdown, or as we often say, the lesser of two evils. By the time each candidate and party has gotten through with each other, both candidates look somewhat less than noble and virtuous. If the statements in political ads can be believed, both candidates should be under some kind of federal indictment for fraud, theft, or a multitude of other civil and legal infractions. Mudslinging and half truth-telling does not lead to a sense of virtue, confidence, or victory.

And yet in both the virtue; letting my voice be heard, exercising my freedom, and the vice; not knowing who to believe or who to trust, there is a third element for those of us who are Christians. That is the deep conviction that we have dual citizenship. Not only are we citizens of this country, state, city, or neighborhood, we are also citizens of another country whose builder and maker is God. Our hope isn’t tied to good government or the right party being in power. Our hope is in God. We believe He is the King, the Ruler, the Lord over all His creation. We truly believe the words of Scripture when it says that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord and He can turn it whichever way He chooses.

While part of our service and honor to God is to be a good citizen and be engaged in the political arena in the public debate, and we do it with vigor, we do it with commitment.

We also recognize that our hope isn’t in government. If government could solve our problems, God would’ve sent us a king. If education could solve our problems, God would’ve sent us an educator. If science could solve our problems, He would’ve sent us a scientist. But the truth of the matter is He sent us a Savior, for it is our hearts and souls that need to be saved. And when our hearts and souls are converted to truth, beauty, love, and honor when we seek justice, these are the ways in which society changes and our world becomes a better place.

As you vote today, vote your heart and your conscience. But understand at the end of the day, our hope is not in Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. Our hope is in God, Who loves us too much to leave us to our own devices. Yea God!

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