In this challenge to apathetic voters, Ross Hendry says its vital Christians exercise their democratic right to vote on 4 July 


Source: Alamy

“All politicians are the same. They’re just a bunch of crooks.”

“There’s no difference between any of the main parties, and they never keep their promises anyway.”

“The government can’t seem to sort anything out.”

If you’ve heard one or all of the above before, you’re not alone.

Then there’s the reasons that some Christians give for not caring about an election:

“Politics is of the world and will pollute the Church.”

“Everything will be destroyed anyway, so we should just focus on winning souls.”

But whether it is done for pragmatic or theological reasons, not caring about a general election represents a denial of how God calls us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before him (Micah 6:8).

If you are doubting your Christian responsibility to engage this election time, let me suggest seven reasons why you should.

1. We care as an act of worship

Our primary calling is to be in a relationship with Jesus, and while choosing not to engage is our free choice (legally and theologically), it is an abdication of our calling, privilege and opportunity to witness and worship.

Voting is one crucial way in which we can restrain institutional injustice

Worship is not just a Sunday activity: it is a whole life condition and a commitment to value, honour and praise God in all of our choices and actions. It is a reaction to what God has done in our lives and how that has changed us. Caring about the election is an opportunity to worship God through accepting the privilege of voting for our leaders, and making a wise choice that reflects God’s character.

2. We care because of deep theological convictions

Voting should never be an unthinking, or even an easy, action. It requires thoughtfulness and prayer in order to deploy wisdom. Have you considered how voting responsibly, wisely and faithfully is a spiritually formative action? Consider the spiritual discipline it requires to vote well and thank God that he provides the resources you need to do so.

3. We care because we want to be like God in serving others

It is tempting to see the democratic process as an opportunity to gain power. That is not God’s way. Throughout the Bible we see God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – pouring their power into others. From Genesis 1 to Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, we see God using his power to empower others rather than to diminish them. Voting is a way of using our privilege and power in a Christ-like way by seeking to use it for the benefit of others.

4. We care because we believe leadership and government matter

The books of Samuel, Kings and Judges are a procession of case studies highlighting the importance of good leadership and good government. They echo what we see in the world: bad leaders and bad government are terrible news for all people, and at times, they are especially bad for God’s family. The Bible has plenty to say about what good leaders look like, and we should use our vote wisely to support candidates who best reflect the qualities God finds pleasing.

5. We care because we have a vision of the common good

The Bible is not a political manifesto, but it does set out God’s good plan for how we should live our common life together. No political party will perfectly reflect God’s good plan, just as we sometimes see Christians disagree with their interpretation of how to achieve the common good God desires for us. Nevertheless, we should use our vote for the candidate and party we believe best promotes God’s plan for human flourishing.

6. We care in order to love those who are vulnerable

God seems to have a very special heart for what Tim Keller called the “quartet of the vulnerable”: the orphan, the widow, the foreigner and the poor. These were groups who were economically and socially disenfranchised.

Voting should never be an unthinking or even an easy action

To reflect God’s heart is not to merely feel sorry for these people, and not even to simply give to charity to alleviate their need, but to loosen the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke that perpetuate their position (Isaiah 58:6). Voting is one crucial way in which we can restrain institutional injustice and seek to address some of the root causes and structures that keep the vulnerable in their position.

7. We care about the present and also the future

Just as we do not vote to reflect our own self-interest but rather our love for God, our neighbour, and a deep care for his creation, we do not simply vote for the present but for the future. We vote as an act of hope: not that prime minsters or governments will save us from our trials and challenges, but with Christian hope, that all things will be made new, that brokenness will be healed, and that creation will be redeemed.

CS Lewis wrote that “if you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”

Effective voting is not voting for the election winner, but voting in line with God’s will. May that be our yardstick and motivation to care about, and engage with, the political process.

Find a range of resources to help you think, act, and pray before you cast your vote at CARE’s dedicated election website: