People chosen to lead soon learn the disciplines of decision making. There are hundreds of models depicting the steps necessary to reach a valid conclusion over a matter. Business executives, team leaders, department managers, spiritual leaders, and parents know the treadmill of thinking through a set of circumstances and deciding a course of action. Most of us also know the weight of indecision, the circular motion that can so entangle us and limit our movement. Even in a months long election cycle time seems to drag us through that inertia of weighing our options. Finally, at some point we must decide. C.S. Lewis, writing in The Silver Chair, The Chronicles of Narnia (New York, Harper Collins, 2000) included this thought---
Crying is all right in it's way while it lasts. But, you have to stop sooner or later,
and then you still have to decide what to do.
Sooner or later decision time comes.
There's no absolute guide through the mechanics of decision making. As mentioned there are hundreds of systems great managers and leaders have suggested to establish and maintain perspective through a difficult dilemma. Christians should supplement these proven elements with ample amounts of prayer, Bible study, examples of decision making from Scripture, and spiritual counsel. Scripture is always the most reliable source of guidance when we're facing even basic life choices. This is true even in sorting through complicated election variables. We're never to leave the mind of Christ in the car when we visit the voting site. Our faith should inform and shape this decision. A starting place for believers should always be to settle the issue of our own personal values and decide up front to vote them.
This election has been difficult for many believers. There are no ideal candidates and the character issues are muddled by the free fall of American morals. Still, the starting place for me has been to examine my values, establish my options, search Scripture for guidance, seek counsel in moving forward, and pray without ceasing. Having done much of that for the past few months, these options seem most appropriate. I will comment on them briefly---
1. Do not vote.
Many Americans make this choice every year, even those professing faith in
Christ. Years ago I decided that unless providentially hindered, I would vote in
every election. This stance fits my own interpretation of Scripture: we're
supposed to be active participants in the government. So, not voting is off the
grid for me.
2. Vote for Mrs. Clinton.
The Democratic Party platform has traditionally represented values that are
inconsistent with my Christian worldview. In this instance, Mrs. Clinton's
position on the issues and her own personal liabilities prevent me from serious
consideration of her as my Presidential choice.. Unless there is a voice from
heaven or some additional revelation about her stances and those of her
political affiliation I will most likely not favor her with my vote.
3. Vote for Mr. Trump.
Once again, this is problematic. Mr. Trump is an unknown in the political arena.
What is known about him is questionable in most respects. That he is the
Republican nominee is one plus in his list of achievements. There are other
favorables associated with his resume as well. In most cases, however, he
would not normally be my choice to occupy the Oval Office.
4. Vote for another candidate.
As of this date, five candidates are running for President of the United States:
Hillary Clinton (Democrat); Donald Trump (Republican), Jill Stein (Green Party),
Gary Johnson (Libertarian), and Evan McMullin (Independent). Having read and
studied the background data on the three additions, it is doubtful I would vote
for them. Again, revelation may alter this stance.
5. Write in a candidate.
There's some energy building for a write-in candidate. Nine state prohibit
write-in candidacy. In the states that allow write-in candidates there's been a
good bit of talk about the resurgence of Senator Ted Cruz as a write-in vote.
In the primary vote, I supported Governor Mike Huckabee. When he withdrew
from consideration I endorsed Senator Cruz, for whatever that is worth.
However, I withdrew my support of Senator Cruz after his disappointing speech
at the Republican National Convention. I really didn't expect much from
Senator Cruz at the Convention and was not influenced by his decision not to
endorse Mr. Trump. But, I did expect more. He had pledged to support the
Republican nominee and I thought his refusal to do so was disingenuous on his
part. He demonstrated an example of situational ethics in that decision that
didn't sit well with me. His excuse was that Mr. Trump had spoken harshly
about his wife and father. Hey, it's politics, he chose to be on that platform, and
negatives are to be expected in elections. I expected him to demonstrate the
mind of Christ in his speech. There was no forgiveness, no other cheek or
second mile behavior, and basically a response of evil for evil, not loving our
enemies, and not thinking of others. Many people applauded his stance with his
wife and family. But, the teachings of Christ are absolute and must not be
violated by our own personal circumstances. This is just my humble opinion.
So, my course is to continually weigh these options, pray through them thoroughly, be informed about the candidates, and seek the mind of Christ in making what I consider to be an important decision.
Decision time is coming and I pray sooner than later.