Saturday, June 23, 2018

Voting; Christian perspective

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It’s now just over five weeks before the 2018 general elections slated for 30 July. There’s still ample time to decide your vote if you’re registered.
However, registration is still in progress, albeit that you will not be able to participate in the forthcoming elections, but in future ones. I trust that after reading through you will see the urgency and value of voting.
By Erasmus Makarimayi
It’s not a blindfolded approach. I will lay out some basic biblical expectations regarding voting. In a country whose preponderant population is Christian, it’s necessary to enquire on biblical teachings on this topic. Not all theologians and scholars agree on the level of involvement and participation in the electoral processes.
This instalment looks at voting in a constitutional and practicing democracy. If time permits, I will have a look at other forms of governance such as absolute monarchy.
There are those who won’t vote because they think that their vote does not change the outcome of the election. Fears and reports of possible rigging have not helped either. I posit that in a free poll not voting is voting, because the outcome will be minus your vote to your preferred party or candidate.
Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. I know you are busy praying and fasting, a noble and commendable undertaking, but do the responsible thing, go out and vote on the voting day. Among my personal values as a citizen of a democracy are my rights, freedoms, and responsibilities.
I endeavour to and be a concerned and informed citizen ad remain answerable and accountable to God. While our constitution doesn’t outlaw not voting, we’re encouraged to exercise our democratic right to vote.
Please participate in the course of your destiny. Have a say in what the future releases for you. God ordained human government and authority for the transactions of this world and He respects that order.
There are belief systems that teach against participating in electoral process. As a good person, consider the words of Edmund Burke, “All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of thereof. Apostle Peter teaches in 1 Peter 1:13, New English Translation, “Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
We need action beyond confession. God’s Kingdom initially exists in the spiritual realm and manifests in the physical or natural sphere through our agency.
Answering Pilate, Jesus reveals in John 18:36, “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” We propagate and extend God’s rule on earth. We, therefore, pray that the will of God be done in the earth realm.
What we put our hands to, acting as ambassadors of Christ is acceptable to God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:19: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
We (the corporate body of believers, the church), therefore, don’t choose anyhow, but prayerfully do so without emotions. On this basis, God recognises our proposals though we may be off His preferred option. Israel demanded a king like other nations and God yielded though contrary to His preference. 1 Samuel 8:21-22, record, “[21] And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. [22] And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.” In His power, God reigns in love.
We can reject God’s choice and have our way thinking that God is in it. 1 Samuel 8:7 writes, “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
We, therefore, have to check with Him. The words of 1 Samuel 16:1 are instructive, “And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.”
The voice of the people, therefore, isn’t the voice of God, though it may tally with the voice of God. We should never be in a rush to conclude that the voice of the majority equals God’s voice. The will of God and the will of the people are not essentially the same. However, oftentimes the will of the people agrees with the will of God.
Scripture references show so much how the people always conflicted with the will of God. The majority is not always right, so often there is contradiction.
As I conclude this introduction to voting, please note: In theocracy, the will of God prevails and in democracy, the will of the people rules. Next week we shall learn how to choose beyond party regalia, slogans and other mantras. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.