September 28, 2016
Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people,
for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” 2 Chronicles 1:10
This prayer of Solomon when he ascended to the throne of Israel was honored by God. It is a prayer that we could all pray, since through our vote we choose who will govern this nation, which is so great. Unfortunately, if social media opinions are any indication, we as a nation do not feel confident about voting for either of the presidential candidates who debated last Monday night. It’s hard to know whom to believe and whom to trust. Hopefully some questions and Biblical reflection can help to evaluate people for leadership.
Past Performance: What have they said and done? Jesus warned his disciples of “false prophets who “come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves”. He said, “by their fruits you will know them.” (Matt. 7:20) What do their past fruits reveal about their character and trustworthiness? This is somewhat tempered by the fact that people can and do change. Have you? Would you want everything you have said and done in the past, no matter how long ago, to be the criteria by which your character is judged today? So, while the past reveals who they were then, it might not be the whole picture of who they are today.
Present Performance: What are they doing and saying now? St. Paul, who did have a regrettable past, nevertheless wrote, Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Phil. 3:17). In other words, he was holding up his current life as exemplary and desired to be evaluated and emulated in the present. Which of the candidates would you have the least difficulty in following today? Which one’s fruit gives you the most confidence and is worthiest of your vote? Have they improved over past performance?
Future Promise: What will they do? We can’t know for sure what they will do, or will be able to do. However, their promises do indicate their governing philosophy and their grasp of human nature and historical precedent. Do they promise change that is realistic, beneficial, and long lasting? In evaluating the promises, we must understand that our next president is a mere mortal. Therefore, it would be good if he or she, like Solomon, prays for wisdom, for who can govern this great nation without it? Who is most likely doing that?
Pray about your vote, and for this great nation.