In 550 BC Aesop said, “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to office.” This isn’t always necessarily true… but sometimes we wonder. One of the dangers we face is the honesty of candidates about their faith AND/OR their adherence to what they say they believe.
There is usually so much mud and misinformation thrown around it is very difficult to discern who we should cast our vote for when we enter the booth. My desire is to give some suggestions for consideration so that our vote is cast with the best information possible.
The typical American looks for things like “Presidential Appearance.” Others base their vote on “likeability.” Some determine their candidate based on the debates. Then there are those who choose based on issues like abortion, Social Security, foreign policy, ecology, or other social issues. The bottom line of every voter is this… “Is this candidate FOR ME?” If all else fails the default decision goes to… “Is he/she Democrat or Republican?”
There is really only one question for the Christian to ask… What Are God’s Leadership Qualifications? Aside: These are also good tests for choosing church leaders and teachers… who to look for in a mate, friend, or business partner. My prayer is that this post will give us something to think about from a Biblical perspective as we wade through deciding who the best candidate is to cast our vote for.
Qualification #1: Men Who Fear God
When Moses’ father in law was counseling him about men to select to rule over Israel, this was his counsel as found in Exodus 18:21… “Look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe…” This is also found in Ps 2:10-11, “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
The words in Ps 2 in Hebrew covey the idea of leaders fear because they know they will answer to God one day and that He holds them to a higher authority.
“Such compromises… of my honor, my conscience, my friends, my country, my God, as the Scriptures inform us must be punished with nothing less that hell fire, eternal torment… that I cannot prevail upon myself to thing of [compromise]. The duration of future punishment terrifies me.”
Fear of God is important because: 1) Fear of God safeguards leaders from an inordinate fear of people with power and money. 2) Fear of God leads to great wisdom… “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” 3) Fear of God keeps leaders from becoming arrogant. It helps them remember they are “deacons” of God to do His bidding (Romans 13:1-6).
Before a man can be a leader, he must be subject to God. So examine their beliefs. Do they walk the walk of a Christian as best you can tell? Is he arrogant or humble. Do promises come from focus groups… polls… or are they their own?
Qualification #2: Leaders Who Are Truthful
Exodus 18:21… “Look for men… who are trustworthy.”
Notice it isn’t written, “Men who tell the truth.” Ex 18:21 points to men “of truth.” There is a difference between “telling the truth” and being “a person of truth.” The first focuses on what a person does. The second focuses on who the person is. It is possible to tell the truth but it not be the truth!
For example let’s say you’re going into a bank… three people come out. Two are holding bags of cash… the other is your worst enemy holding a gun you saw him pick up from the floor. The police arrive as the first two escape in a car… your enemy trying also to get in yelling… “Wait! Stop!” The police ask you your version… you could say, “He came out of the bank with two others holding a gun and trying to get in the car.” Strictly that is true, but it isn’t truth. You know he wasn’t part of the robbery, but your words don’t convey that.
We must attempt as best we can to determine which candidate is a person of truth… the person with the most personal integrity and trustworthiness. Does he keep his word? Are his stories verifiable? Is he genuine or fake? Does his life ooze truth or do we just get a drop every now and then? Does he understand what the word “is,” is?
Qualification #3: Leaders Who Hates Dishonest Gain
Exodus 18:21, “Select out of all the people able men… who hate dishonest gain.”
Dishonest gain is about how a person gains their wealth. It is about what they are willing to do to obtain money to finance their campaign. If there are always lingering questions about these things… if they always seem to just be under the letter of the law (But are pushing it)… if they are constantly having to explain themselves… then the answer may become clear if we just admit what we see.
God isn’t against leaders who are wealthy… just those who obtained it in an unjust manner. God wants leaders who fight for those less fortunate, not take advantage of them for their own personal gain.
Has any candidate ever risen to this standard? What do you do when it seems that there is no easy choice?
On February 7th, 1801, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her sister discussing the upcoming election between Aaron Burr, known to be an irreligious man, and Thomas Jefferson, a religious man but an unbeliever. Speaking to this, Abigail told her sister:
Never were a people placed in more difficult circumstances than the virtuous part of our countrymen are at the present crisis. I have turned, and turned, and overturned in my mind at various times the merits and demerits of the two candidates. Long acquaintance, private friendship and the full belief that the private character of [Jefferson] is much purer than [Burr]… inclines me to [Jefferson]. Have we any claim to the favor and protection of Providence when we have against warning admonition and advice chosen as our chief Magistrate a man who makes no pretensions to the belief of an all wise supreme Governor of the World?… If we ever saw a day of darkness, I fear this is one.
The following words are inscribed on Jefferson’s Memorial. “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
First… Find the person that most closely resembles God’s qualification.
Second… Dig for the truth. Christianity Today articles. Internet Resource Sheets… there are helpful articles. FORGET THE TV AND NEWSPAPER.
Third… Get their books and read them.
Fourth… Pray, make a choice, AND VOTE!
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers… “just men who rule in the fear of God.” If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted.” (Noah Webster, The History Of The United States, 1832)
NOTE: Taken from a message by Bob Boerman (“The Right Man For The Job”). Adapted and edited slightly to reflect my thoughts.