Rev. Donnie G. MacDonald, Free Church of Scotland Moderator, shares some thoughts on the 2019 General Election.
So just a few days to go and we shall cast our votes. We will elect a government that shall drive the legislative agenda for the next five years (potentially). In our various constituencies, we will vote for the woman or man that will represent us as laws are being formulated in the corridors of power. We are therefore being bombarded with politics on our TVs, newspapers and social media. To gain our votes forests of leaflets are being delivered through our doors by the various candidates. Some people already have their minds set on who to vote for, their party allegiances do not waver, but I sense that in this election more people than usual are undecided. I have heard so many suggesting that they will not vote, spoil their vote, or vote for the least bad option on the ballot paper, but have yet to decide which that is.
Although I believe it is our Christian duty to vote, I wouldn’t dare suggest to anyone who they should vote for, but I can share with you the process I go through that helps me to decide. I try to vote intelligently, selflessly, prayerfully and faithfully.
Intelligently – As a first-time voter, many years ago, I was advised to look at the fundamental political philosophies that undergird each political party and to consider which best reflected my Christian faith. That is always my starting point. In addition, each political party will produce a manifesto that contains its policies and promises. I try to familiarise myself the best I can with their manifestos before making a choice. Further, I look at the party leaders and I ask myself, are the individuals of strength and integrity; can I trust them? Increasingly I consider the calibre of the candidates standing in my constituency. On occasion, that may be the determining factor; there may be times when you consider it better to have an excellent constituency MP who may not be in your preferred party, than a poor MP who is. I try to be as informed as I possibly can to enable me to make a measured and intelligent choice.
Selflessly - Scripture instructs us to have the attitude of Jesus, not looking to our own interests but to the interests of others (Phil 2). I do not want my vote to be governed by which party will make me better off but rather which party will best provide for, and protect the most vulnerable in society. The ‘attitude of Jesus’ should make us look at each party’s social care policies, housing policies, policies surrounding mental health care, care for the elderly, the young and the unborn. There is no party that will say they do not care about the vulnerable, but we are left to consider which is most likely to deliver on their promises to care effectively. Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear cut.
Prayerfully – I do not pray to God that one particular candidate or party will be successful, or that certain parties or candidates will not be successful. I pray for wisdom and guidance as I make my choice and I try to pray that simplest and yet hardest prayer of all, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Before deciding, and while voting, I commit it all to God.
Faithfully – It is important to be full of faith at such a time as this, faith in a sovereign God who has a perfect purpose and a perfect plan. The word ‘trust’ has been bandied about a lot over this election campaign. The question being asked is, who can I trust? Of all the leaders, and all the parties, which can I put my faith in to deliver. By now we should know that if we put our trust, our faith, in political parties or political leaders we will always, to a greater or lesser extent, be disappointed. As we often sing, "in Christ alone our hope is found, he is our light, our strength, our song." So come Friday morning, it’s okay to be delighted or disappointed, but not devasted or despairing, for our faith and trust is in a God who is ruling, and over-ruling in all things for our good and His glory. And our hope is found in Christ alone, who loved us and gave Himself for us.