September 11, 2020
One of the things we miss doing is hanging out in the mall. But one thing I don’t miss about going to the mall is deciding where to eat. There are times when you would ask your friends about where they want to eat, and then you find yourself deciding for everyone only to end up hearing their complaints because they didn’t like the food. I realized that it would have been better if they could have voiced out their opinions earlier, when it mattered.
Our voice matters.
In almost all aspects of our lives, our voice matters not only because we have something to say, but more importantly because we know God has something to say through us. God gave us His Word, not just for our personal spiritual growth, but also for us to voice it out to the world.
One of the ways we make God’s voice heard in our nation is through our voice in national elections.
We vote because we want change. More than wanting to change the people in leadership, we want to choose a kind of leader that will bring the change we are looking for.
Voting is an act of faith. As we cast our vote, we can trust that God will let His Kingdom come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Voting is an exercise of our convictions to elect leaders, albeit imperfect, who will exemplify what the kingdom of God is like.
Proverbs 14:34 portrays what the kingdom of God is like—a kingdom of righteousness:
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
Righteousness ushers the kingdom of God in a nation.
God has given us clear definitions of what a righteous leader looks like based on His Word. God’s standard of a righteous leader becomes the basis for our decisions in voting.
The most effective way to see righteous leaders arise in our country is still by discipling future leaders. Discipleship develops godly character in people so that when their time to lead comes, they will serve excellently and with integrity.
But it could take many years for the people we disciple to serve in public office, let alone decide to run for it.
That’s why the fastest way for us to see righteous leaders in position is to elect people who can lead and serve in a way that is aligned with the Word of God.
David is one of the leaders whom God chose to lead the nation of Israel. His reign and the reign of his son Solomon were considered the golden years of Israel. In the last part of Psalm 78, we see God choosing David and what kind of leadership he displayed:
He chose David his servant . . . to shepherd Jacob his people . . . With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skilful hand.
David’s leadership was described in two ways: He was a leader with an upright heart and skillful hands. Through his example, we can also examine the qualities we want in a leader and determine how we are to vote in the coming elections.
An upright heart talks about a person’s integrity. Integrity is the moral compass of a good leader. A person who has great leadership skills can still cause great suffering if his moral compass is broken.
Just look at the life of Adolf Hitler. He was a charismatic and skillful leader, yet the great evil he orchestrated is difficult to put into words. How he manipulated his nation to commit genocide shows that a skillful leader with a broken moral compass can cause more harm than good. That is why our votes must be given to people who exemplify uprightness of heart.
But how do we do that? No leader will admit to having committed crimes or declaring their bad, selfish, or misguided intentions in their campaign slogans. There are also candidates who admit and show their wrongdoings with the excuse of doing these for the good of many, painting themselves as a Robinhood through their speeches.
To exercise discernment in our quest to find an upright heart among the candidates, we must go back to the Word of God.
“. . . for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
We determine upright hearts through upright words. And these are not just the words given during the campaign period, but words spoken when there is no spotlight; words spoken against evil, words spoken that promote life, words that are true, and words that are aligned with God’s Word.
Before David defeated Goliath, Saul asked him how he can defeat an enemy who was a man of war from his youth.
David did not highlight his good intentions, courage, or even his faith in God—although it was really God who caused him to be victorious. David explained to Saul that he was skillful in battle for he had already defeated lions and bears. David’s experiences and track record spoke for him.
No one would want to go to a hospital full of people merely claiming they are doctors. We want doctors who went through proper education, training, and certification to operate on us, primarily because we know that it is a matter of life and death.
The same goes for leadership in government. We need skill-based qualifications, not just good intentions.
Last Sept. 1, The Commission on Elections has reopened voters’ registration across the country.
If you are of age, I urge you to please register as a voter. You can check COMELEC’s website or official Facebook account for guidelines on how to register for and vote in the next election.
However, in supporting certain candidates, we can fall into the trap of political partisanship; our allegiance to the country could manifest as an allegiance to a specific candidate or political party. As we cast our votes, remember that our allegiance to Jesus comes first before any candidate or political party.
If you are not yet eligible to vote, you can still participate in nation-building by creating a God-centered culture in your school and at home.
As Christians, we believe that we can take part in nation-building by praying for our leaders, participating in civil rights exercises, and bringing change in our nation by sharing and demonstrating the gospel of Jesus to the people around us.
Help us to remember our true citizenship, that we are people of Your kingdom and not just of this world. We are Christians first before we are Filipinos. May our identity as Your children guide our conducts as citizens of our country.
Lord, we desire for your rule to be upon our nation. Help us to become responsible citizens of this land, for You are our ultimate King.
We pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.