Ah yes, it’s election time again, and we will going to the poles again today for primaries here in Indiana.
The candidates all claim they’ll be better than the other guy, but how are we to separate the good from the bad? The wrong from the right? How do we find the ones that aren’t likely to let us down? It’s what we all want, and yet it’s so hard to come by. The negative ads, the inaccuracies (both good and bad), false claims, and the outright deception. The promises come in abundance, and they’re broken in abundance. Where is their character?
Election after election, people get excited about someone, only to end up in disappointment, with very few exceptions. Few exceptions, indeed…but exceptions nonetheless. So where do we get more of these “exceptions”? And why is everyone else so rotten?
This is where I think we need to stop and re-evaluate how we are going about this process.
Talking heads, political insiders and media all keep telling us, “Stick with the issues. It’s the issues that are important.” I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, that could be the biggest problem!
Why can I say that? Because issues can shift and change with the blowing of the wind, as can a candidate’s “position” on them. Focusing on “issues” allows politicians to take one position, then change it to another when it becomes politically expedient. The word “position” itself implies something that can be moved around.
On the other hand, character, whether good or bad, is tied to a person no matter where they go or what they do. Good character requires integrity and trying to live according to a set of solid principles.
“The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV)
In politics, simply put, a man (or woman) of good character who sticks with their principles through thick and thin can be trusted to make good decisions in the future, regardless of the issue! Principles are what determines how hard decisions and crises are handled, not promises.
So before you vote today, ask yourself:
What kind of character do these people have? Do they have a history of upholding their principles, even when the pressure is on?
Are they trustworthy? Look at their family life, especially marriage(s). Do they have a history of being faithful and being devoted to their spouse? Or are they unfaithful? Can I expect them to be faithful to the country and do what is right if they can’t be faithful to their spouse?
Do they have a history of being committed to their political party?
Do they have a history of using money, power or position to gain special favor or unjust gain?
How do they handle opposition? Do they treat people with decency and respect, and try to win them over? Or do they put people down and try to silence them?
Are they committed to God, and hold themselves accountable to him?
Jesus put it this way:
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:16-20 (NKJV).
In that verse, Jesus made it very simple—don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. And by all means, don’t stick to the issues.