Two men are talking after the Sunday morning worship service. After the regular pleasantries about family, work and weather, the conversation quickly moves to politics and the general election.
The first shuffles his feet and complains “I don’t know, I feel like this minor party’s policies are more in line with a biblical worldview, but it feels like a wasted vote.”
“Yep, I hear you.” Responds his friend. “I’m going to play it tactically and vote for the major party. They may not share our position on much, but we stand a better chance of stopping the other major party from winning!”
Maybe that seems unrelatable to you, but I have been in and overheard versions of that exact conversation several times in the last few weeks.
If you are thinking along similar lines, I hope this article will be a helpful challenge to question your thinking.
First, it is important to state, as a Christian, you have liberty in Christ to vote for whichever political party you want to. I mean that. And while some Christians will disagree with your decision and others will be convinced that the party they endorse is the only party a Christian could feasibly support, no one has a right to tell you who you must vote for and especially not from the pulpit.
So my aim is not to tell you who to vote for. Neither is it to get you voting for whichever minor party floats your boat. My aim is not even to stop you voting tactically. In fact, my purpose is the exact opposite! Just to prove it, here is my big bit of advice: VOTE TACTICALLY!
Just make sure you get your tactics right. Because when you say ‘I’m going to vote tactically’, whose tactics are you using?
The Bible has one great tactic for acting in a way that glorifies God, makes us happy in Him, bares effective gospel witness to the world and has eternal value. The tactic is simple. Do what God says (act, speak, think VOTE according to Gods word) and trust Him for the results. That’s it.
The scripture puts it much more richly when it says Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8
So put your tactical vote under the microscope. Are you voting according to Gods tactics, your own or someone else’s? If you need help to determine the answer, you might find these diagnostic questions helpful.
1. If God asked me today who I was voting for and why, would I be able to give him an answer without any hesitation, an answer worthy of his blood bought child?
2. If someone else asked me who I was voting for and why, could I answer without having to say any more than ‘because I’m a Christian and I feel this party’s policies are the closest to what God would want.’?
3. If the party I vote for doesn’t become part of the government, would I still be glad to have voted for them?
4. At the end of my life, when I give an account to God for how I used the gift of suffrage (because being able to vote for your government is a gift!), will I be able to say I used it to for Him?
Voting for the lesser of two evils is tactical. But isn’t it a tactic born of fear? Doesn’t saying “I think this minor party is the better option spiritually, but I won’t vote for them because they will never get in!” totally dismiss the sovereignty and power of God?
New Zealand needs revival, which will only come when Christians give up on thinking they know best and humble themselves, prayerfully seeking God. If we are so smart that we are willing to put our own ‘tactics’ ahead of what we confess as the truth, that revival may be a lot further off than any of us thought.
Geoff Lloyd, Pastor at Wyndham Evangelical Church