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The Impeachment Trial & US

The Impeachment Trial & US

As I watched some excerpts from Trump’s second Impeachment Trial, it seemed to me that the voices expressed in the Senate Chamber merely echo the millions of voices outside that chamber. One side is convinced they are righteous and the other side is evil. While the other side is convinced it is righteous and the other side is actually the evil one. 

This is not merely about right and wrong. Although at its core right and wrong hang in the balance. But what precede one’s inability to detect right and wrong is the fog of self-deception. And that self-deception is driven by one sin that resides in the soul of each person within the impeachment chamber.  Pride has taken center stage in this trial, both in the chamber, and outside it in the hearts of millions across this land. 

We each remain convinced that we are right, and the other guy is wrong. We are righteous, the others are evil. And based on our particular standard, perhaps that is true. 

But our standard is never the right standard. Our positions are never completely righteous. In fact, if there is any degree of impurity in me, then I am not pure. And likewise, the same applies to any who would throw stones at those they despise.  Let’s not forget, to despise is merely one shade of gray removed from the black of hate. And to hate is to kill in one’s heart, whether the blow is struck outwardly or not. 

So if we are all impure, and self-deceived, when embracing our unique standard, which is the standard by which we should measure ourselves (first)?  It is an external, abiding, and eternal standard that does not change from person to person, or nation to nation. 

God’s standard which affirms you and I are both unrighteous is that unbending and non-negotiable standard. We are all filthy. Were our thoughts and actions to be put on trial in our own “Impeachment Trial” we would all be found guilty. I don’t know the specifics of your guilt, nor do I need to know. All that matters for me, is that my guilt and filthiness exceeds any righteousness I might outwardly display. And all my finger pointing at my political foes, could never make right the impurities in my life. 

So what is it that you, and I, and America needs more than anything at this time?  

Humility. The opposite of what we see on display in our lives and across every bit of media every day: Pride. Pride. Pride. 

But we should remember this about the original and universal sin:

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs‬ ‭16:18‬

 “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James‬ ‭4:6‬ 

So rather than remain transfixed by all of the finger pointing and puffiness being displayed by our nation’s leaders this week, we should chart a new course, and consider some old advice.  

The date was June 28, 1787 and our nation’s founders had been locked in a dispute for several weeks over the specifics of our founding.  So Benjamin Franklin arose and shared the following words, which we would do well to reread, and take heed:

“The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other — our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their  Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

.

“In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. — Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance.

.

“I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

.

“I therefore beg leave to move — that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.

Prayer, humility, and looking upwards to God to confess my own imperfections, instead of outward to point out my neighbors’ faults, is where we must begin. Anything short of this will merely quicken the demise of a once influential nation.

The Disciples’ Dilemma is Ours Too

The Disciples’ Dilemma is Ours Too

Matthew sat down behind his tax collector’s booth. It was just another day for him. He’d been doing this for enough years now that everyone knew he was a wealthy man. He had no external needs, or even wants. Yet he was empty inside.

This emptiness had most recently turned Matthew’s attention to the Torah.  He wondered if the answers to his questions might be found there, or via some of the other Jewish prophets that were a part of his heritage. 

As Matthew’s mind grappled with the teachings he had been exposed to in the synagogue, he harassed the man in front of him into paying his taxes. The grumbling Jew complained about the exorbitant “surcharge” that Matthew routinely tacked on for everyone that came before him. Of course folks hated him, but Matthew considered himself an astute businessman, and his wealth seemed to confirm his perspective. 

Yet the more wealth Matthew accumulated, the greater his emptiness grew. 

All of a sudden a voice interrupted Matthew’s thoughts. He had noticed a man standing a few feet away observing his tactics with the taxpayers shuffling before him.  But when the man spoke, it startled Matthew:

“Matthew, follow me and be my disciple.”

As Matthew rose to comply, he instantly recognized the man as Jesus, the one everyone had been taking about, because of his teachings and the miracles performed by this man from Galilee…

___________

It was now three years after that first encounter with Jesus. Matthew was grappling with his future, along with the ten other men he had come to love. Jesus, the One who had called Matthew to follow Him and become His disciple had just ascended to heaven, after suffering a humiliating death, and rising from the grave, just a few weeks earlier. 

As the disciples struggled with the departure of the man who had said to each of them “follow me and be my disciple” they openly acknowledged that they had several options. 

As I’ve evaluated their circumstances, losing their Rabbi, the Son of God, with whom they had spent three years, I believe the following options are likely ones they considered:

1. Return to the normalcy of their previous occupations. 

2. Take the knowledge they had gained from Jesus and fight the evils of their government, seeking to establish a “righteous” earthly kingdom. After all, this is what most of their family and friends regularly complained about.

3. Follow the example of Jesus, and share the Truth of the Gospel, that would transform the hearts of their neighbors, while also securing eternal life for all how would embrace the Truth.

The first option would have been the easiest, and perhaps the most secure. They knew how to fish, or collect taxes, or whatever their previous profession had been, before Jesus. This would have been comfortable and required no sacrifice, courage, or “cross-bearing.” But it also would have had zero impact on your life and mine, or literally hundreds of millions of Christ-followers over the last 2,000 years. 

The second option would have been fraught with risk, and threat to their own personal safety. They knew and could see the rampant corruption in society, from their government, the tax system, and the religious establishment. Rome was an evil empire. The Jewish rulers were corrupt and self-serving. And the disciples had previously inferred in their conversations with Jesus that they were waiting for the Messiah to overthrow the corrupt institutions of their day. Had they chosen this option though, it’s certain their lives would have been cut short, and their influence lost. Furthermore, the Gospels that tell us of Jesus would likely have never been written, and probably none of the rest of the New Testament. 

The third option, while seemingly foolish and futile, by any earthly standard, was no doubt the hardest for the disciples to consider, from a human standpoint.

Their training and experience would have suggested option one. Their passion, longing for justice, and perhaps even power and notoriety would have steered them to option two. Yet they chose the least likely option. They chose to simply follow the example of Jesus. 

Their three years with Jesus allowed them to see the heart of God, up close and personal. They saw that, while Jesus was surrounded with corrupt politicians, government officials, religious hypocrites, and injustice everywhere, the Son of God did not commit His fleeting time trying to right all the wrongs of society. Jesus was disengaged politically, but not because He didn’t care about government.  (In fact, it was Jesus who ordained government, both as the institution He would use to raise some rulers and demote others, while offering some degree of human oversight of the affairs of men.)

But Jesus knew that there would never be any true external reformation unless there was first internal transformation.  The heart would never be transformed via kingdoms, politicians, laws, or human initiatives. So Jesus committed His energies, passion, and work, to the heart, and His example illustrated His priority continuously.

Jesus did not fear the leaders of His day, as He routinely confronted them, rebuked them, and left them speechless. But it’s clear from Jesus’ example He did not attempt to overthrow them, or replace them with better men, or encourage others to rebel against them. His mission was so much greater than influencing or extinguishing a temporal earthly kingdom. 

So Jesus placed the overwhelming focus of his three years of ministry in speaking eternal Truths to the hearts of His neighbors. He understood and taught that His neighbor was anyone in need, and so like the Good Samaritan, Jesus showed mercy and compassion to the throngs that He encountered daily.  And those throngs included every kind of “despicable” person you can imagine. If I’m honest, people just like me.

With Jesus as their teacher and perfect example, is it any wonder that the disciples, whom we now call Apostles, followed directly in the footsteps of their Mentor?  They could do no less. Of course, they likely continued to generate income to meet their needs. And they likely remained interested in their political circumstances, and other temporal matters. But those issues did not dominate their lives. In fact, there’s no record that they allocated even the smallest part of their time, treasure or talent to those earthly endeavors or distractions. 

So of all the options the Apostles could have chosen, they chose the one that was eternally significant. The other options were temporal, at best. But they understood the words of Jesus when He taught them:

“What does it profit a man if he gains the world, but loses his soul?”

So they gained not only heaven, and resisted the temptation to choose the lesser options, but they also led many to God, by sharing the kingdom of God, versus the kingdoms of men.  They pursued and imparted an eternal kingdom and forsook the lure of the temporal one. 

If you are a follower of Jesus today, you can thank not only the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross 2,000 years ago, but also the fact that eleven ordinary men, with no formal training and no external credentials, were willing to simply follow the example of Jesus.  They forsook, or diminished, their professions, and the lure of power and prestige, and instead they chose the eternal over the temporal. Should we do any less?

“I have given you an example to follow.  Do as I have done to you.”  John 13:15

“We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.”  John 9:4

Mechanics, Brain Surgery & Politicians

Mechanics, Brain Surgery & Politicians

If you use a mechanic for brain surgery, the mechanic will fail, and you may die. If you use a hammer to repair a windshield, the hammer will fail and the windshield will shatter.

Likewise, as long as we continue to consult politicians for their answers to problems that flow from the heart, we will continue to fail, no matter if we have a donkey or elephant in office. 

I wrote an article a few years ago entitled “There is no political solution to a spiritual problem.”  This is exactly where we find ourselves today. And because we have sought to solve our spiritual problems via political solutions we continue to fail year in and year out. Trump did not solve them. And truthfully, Biden will not solve them either. 

So is there any solution?  Well first what are the problems that are destroying this nation?  

Hatred, injustice, anger, abortion, addictions (of all kinds), idolatry, self-sufficiency, pride, rebellion, and more. All of these problems don’t exist because we don’t have enough laws. Rather, they are alive and well within all of our hearts, to some extent, because we have failed to follow two laws:

💡 “Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

Jesus is our only Hope and He is the only One who can solve the problems of our hearts, which is where all the sin that plagues our nation today resides, regardless of political party. 

So are you a Jesus follower?  Have you looked to Washington to solve our problems?  As we begin a new year, and even a new Administration, would you consider a new paradigm?  Let’s try shifting our focus from DC to Jesus, from politicians to our neighbors. As we do, we will experience a miraculous healing, first in our hearts, and then the hearts of our neighbors, as God does what only He can do. 

💡“Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” Psalms 146:3 

💡“Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” Isaiah 2:22 

💡“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:19-20 

💡“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’” Hosea 10:12

Washington Math: 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back. But There’s a Better Way

Washington Math: 1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back. But There’s a Better Way

As we wrap up 2020, it’s clear that half of America is exhilarated over this year’s electoral results. The other half is anything but. One side is cheering. The other side is jeering. One side will watch with eager anticipation for what Washington will now do. The other side is eager to do all it can to block and disrupt.   Four years ago, these same groups were in reverse roles. 

So has anything changed?  Seriously? I mean, if you look over the long haul, what is improving?  More importantly, will anything you do individually have a scintilla of direct impact on what goes on in Washington?  Does it feel like we are stuck in the proverbial one step forward and two steps back?  Or perhaps it’s just another edition of the movie Ground Hog Day. 

I think there’s a reason for this reality and it’s because of a misplaced focus. 

The city where you and I can make the absolute least difference is Washington. However, the place we can make the most difference is our community. Yet, we are lured into placing all of our focus in the place we can have the least impact. Meanwhile, the place you can have the most impact gets your least attention. 

For over a decade, when I was active in and obsessed with politics, this was my continuous challenge to those I led:  

Don’t put all your energies into something that will, in the long run, give you zero return. Rather, put your energies and focus into that which you can actually influence and make a difference. In politics, for the vast majority, that would be your city, county or even state. 

I seldom had anyone disagree with this concept. But here’s the problem. It’s easy to understand but hard to do.  Why? Because Washington seems glamorous, and we reason that it’s for all the marbles.  We see little glitz with city or county politics. Honestly though, your local elected officials likely impact your day to day life more than your congressman, senator, or POTUS will ever do. 

So am I once again a political junkie?  No. But if the above makes sense, then maybe I have your attention for an even greater truth. 

A Greater Truth

If you’re a follower of Jesus, our enemy is someone who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He’s a master deceiver. He knows just how to distract us from those we can impact, and instead he lures us to focus on that which we cannot impact, at least not much, and certainly not for the long term, or eternity. 

So who are those you and I can impact?  For starters, those closest to us: our family, friends and neighbors. The little old lady down the street. The fatherless, widows, refugees, and such. Or that homeless person who is struggling to find food or stay warm in freezing temps.

That’s the story of the Good Samaritan.  He was alert and aware of the needs directly in front of him. And when he saw them, he refused to walk on by, unlike the priest and Levite (the religious community) who ignored the hurting man in the ditch. 

If you want your life to make a difference in 2021, and into eternity, then it might require you to shift your focus; reprioritize your energies; and elevate permanence over fleeting. 

The famous Jim Elliot, who gave his life in the jungles of Ecuador pursuing the eternal, left us with the following quote that is known around the world: 

”He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

I’ve always wanted my life to count for something. I assume you do to. But for years, my “counting for something” was measured by stuff, prestige, short term victories, business success, political campaigns, and other such objectives. Honestly some of them were really good things. But they were all temporal. 

But as I’ve grown older, and spent more time contemplating what really matters, the truth of Elliot’s quote above grips me.  And God has used a myriad of realities in my life to capture my attention.  The following verses seem to encapsulate what Elliot was saying:

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

So, if you feel like your stuck on that old hamster wheel, where you’re going all out, deep into whatever you’re doing, but you just never feel like it’s making a difference, maybe it’s time to reevaluate. 

The new year is here and it’s a great time to be introspective. Be honest with yourself. If 2021 is your final year on this globe, how do you want to spend it?  Do you want to commit your final energies, passion, and focus on “wood, hay, and straw” or “gold, silver and jewels?”  

Only you can answer that question. And only God, not me, can direct you to the right answer and what it is that is “wood, hay and straw” in your life. Your “gold, silver and jewels” may not be similar to mine at all. 

But if you’re a Christ follower, whatever your mission is, it will be eternal. Anything less will never satisfy. Or last. 

So if you’re on the hamster wheel, I hope you’ll step off. The enemy will do his best to lure you back on, but Go Deep into God’s Word to find the antidote to the enemy’s lies and deception. 

So when you breathe your final breath, are you ready for a real “happily ever after” experience ?  It can be when your life is invested in the eternal. 

”What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Matthew 16:26

Your Vote. Just One More Test

Your Vote. Just One More Test

All of life is a test. From the first moments of creation, God gave Adam an infinite number of wholesome choices, and only one restriction: “you shall not eat…” This was man’s first test. Likewise, today you and I face numerous choices that confirm that God still uses tests. These tests prove to us, to others, and to Him, what it is we believe, we trust, and we value. Will we choose right?  And how do we even know what is right?  Read on… 

As we approach another election season, there perhaps is no greater encapsulation of what you and I value, what we embrace, and what we trust, than how we will vote, or whether we will even vote at all. This is the subject I’d like to briefly address via four biblical principles.  

🔹God Elevates 

— “God controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” Daniel 2:21 

— “It is God alone who judges; He decides who will rise and who will fall.” Psalms 75:7

No political leader/ruler is ever elevated to their position unless God desires or allows for him/her to be. There is nothing any voter can do, or not do, that can thwart God’s will in this regard. The Bible is abundantly clear about this truth. It is God that elevated Obama as well as Trump, and every President before them.  Once we understand this truth we’ll understand that it was not any one person’s vote for, or against, Trump (as I did by selecting a third party four years ago) that was the ultimate reason for the outcome in 2016.  Your vote will not thwart God’s preordained plan, and the man He will place in the Oval Office in 2021.  

🔹”We the People” are not sovereign  

— “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 

Sadly, Americans have come to believe the deception that we are our own sovereign masters and that it is “we the people” who control elections and our destiny. This has led to a grossly mistaken belief system, particularly amongst those who claim to be followers of Jesus and the Bible. It has led us to believe that we can know God’s political will, and that God is just waiting on us to determine the outcome of an election. So it leads activists to embrace political activism because, without such, they believe their future is dire.  

But as the verse above affirms, you can make all sorts of plans, and you could even rally millions to vote for your preferred candidate, but there is no overriding God’s purpose. It will prevail. Does this mean you should not vote?  That’s up to you to decide, based on what Scripture informs. But should you obsess over a political campaign?  Absolutely not. Sadly though, we only need to peruse the headlines, the rallies, and social media, to see that millions of professing followers of Jesus are in fact obsessing over this current political season and their preferred candidate, whether Trump or Biden.  

🔹The “Vote” test  

— “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 

At the end of the day, our singular vote is not about “electing” someone but more importantly it reveals what is in our hearts and what we value the most. I have come to understand that our vote is merely a test, nothing more and nothing less. It’s highly possible one might be led to refrain from voting, whether for a season, or even permanently. But, if you feel led to vote, will your vote honor God, and the values He teaches, or will your vote value something lesser, even if the end which your vote seems to achieve might appear to justify the means?   

This I believe is the greatest test for believers living in a system that lures them to believe that they are in control. Nothing could be further from the Truth. The enemy is a master of deception and he has done one of his best con jobs when it comes to the role evangelicals believe they are to play in any election.  Does our vote honor Jesus?  Do we glorify God in the way we vote or do we simply achieve a short term win? Further, do we believe we can bend what we claim to believe, in order to “help” God gain a “victory.”   

🔹The “End Justifies the Means” Deception 

As short-sighted, temporal minded creatures, it’s easy to justify our actions, regardless of how contrary to God and His clear principles they might be. Sadly, we can seldom see when we have succumbed to an “end justifies the means” philosophy. But the approach to voting and elections by many Christians in America is a prime example of such a philosophy.  

There is a story in 1 Samuel 15 about the first king of Israel that reveals how wrong it is to justify bad choices based on a self-determined “good” outcome that might be orchestrated. King Saul had been commanded to utterly destroy the nation of Amalek, including not just the people, but also the “cattle, sheep, goats, camels and donkeys.”  

But Saul did not completely obey God. While he destroyed the people, note that the king preserved what he deemed would benefit himself and his people: 

— “Saul and his men spared (King) Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.” 1 Samuel 15:9

But when the prophet Samuel confronted the King about his obvious disobedience to God’s command, Saul easily justified his actions as follows: 

— “When Samuel finally found him, Saul greeted him cheerfully. “May the Lord bless you,” he said. “I have carried out the Lord’s command!” “Then what is all the bleating of sheep and goats and the lowing of cattle I hear?” Samuel demanded. “It’s true that the army spared the best of the sheep, goats, and cattle,” Saul admitted. “But they are going to sacrifice them to the Lord your God. We have destroyed everything else.”” 1 Samuel 15:13-15 

So Saul blatantly disobeyed God, and was even proud of it. When confronted about it, Saul justified his disobedience by suggesting He was honoring God with his rebellious actions. Samuel however did not accept Saul’s flimsy excuse for his disobedience. Rather, the godly prophet had this to say: 

— “But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”” 1 Samuel 15:22-23

Finally, only after Samuel’s bold reproof did King Saul admit the following:  

— “Yes, I have sinned. I have disobeyed your instructions and the Lord’s command, for I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded.” 1 Samuel 15:24 

So clearly, while Saul would have achieved what he believed to be a “good” outcome through his disobedience (sacrifices to God), God was testing Saul to see if the king would simply obey God.  Sadly Saul failed the test, and Samuel called his disobedience rebellion and stubbornness, suggesting his sin was as bad as witchcraft and worshipping idols.  Clearly an “end justifies the means” mentality was not only wrong, it ultimately cost Saul the kingdom, and his life. 

🔹Conclusion 

There is much more we could write and learn from Scripture relating to our vote, but I hope the above four principles are thought provoking as you mail in your ballot, or walk into the voting booth during this election season.   

So remember, God does not need your vote or mine. Rather, He wants us to simply obey clear Scriptural principles rather than our trying to “help” Him.  When we obey God, even when it contradicts our “common sense” and peers, we demonstrate our trust in God and His sovereignty.  But to obey Him requires that we study His Word, to discover what it has to say about what we should value, and how we should or should not vote. Rather than preserving a temporal nation with our vote, we are called to glorify God, not align with evil, and trust God above all else, even when following God might result in a short term political “loss.” 

— “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” Ephesians 5:10-11 

— “Don’t put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?” Isaiah 2:22  

— “What sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers and depending on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 31:1 

— “He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

— “But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 NLT 

— “Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God to whom we are sending you with our plea. For if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us.” Jeremiah 42:6 

Hagerty v Sethi:  Who to Vote For?

Hagerty v Sethi: Who to Vote For?

Once again election season is upon us.  While America is already deeply divided between blue and red, democrats and republicans, Trump and non-Trumpers, these various factions are finding themselves even further divided as they squabble over who to vote for in the upcoming the primaries. 

As has been the case for more than a decade, I’ve been getting asked about who I might recommend in some of the races.  In the past, I tended to have strong opinions about who was the “better” or “right” candidate and I was never hesitant to share when asked.  This year is different, for a number of reasons.  But that’s for a separate and upcoming post. 

In Tennessee there are a couple men who are running to replace Senator Lamar Alexander:  Bill Hagerty and Manni Sethi.  I have many good friends who are staunch Hagerty supporters. And perhaps an equal number of vocal supporters for Sethi.  There are no doubt points that each group of supporters could make to elevate their guy and throw stones at his opponent.   

When I see people do this though, I’m completely turned off.  So many politicians, and their supporters as well, act as if the only way to win is to trash not only the other guy, but they also must lob bombs at the supporters of the guy as well.  We’ve all heard the saying that we should  disagree without being disagreeable.  If there was a time when we need to show mercy and grace to others, it’s today. 

In most primaries, while the candidates may attempt to illustrate the differences between themselves, at the end of the day, when they go to Washington, it’s unlikely they will vote that much differently from each other, particularly these days.  As the battle lines have drawn deeper and deeper in our nation, and between democrats and republicans, we have seen that both parties more often than not vote as a bloc.  It’s as if there is little to no individuality.   

Washington is basically just two big machines.  A blue one.  And a red one.  And those machines gobble up the members of their party, demanding absolute fidelity.   

So, if you are listening to the policy differences of Hagerty and Sethi, it’s unlikely anything they say will matter, since the party will ultimately dictate how they vote.  I know even as I write this that many will want to take issue with my perspective here.  And if so, that’s fine.  This is the conclusion I have come to after a couple of decades of political activism and engagement.  Of course there are exceptions, but as a rule, this is the case.   

So, if you’re asking me who you should vote for, Hagerty or Sethi, my answer may surprise you.  I have personal feelings about both men, and have found myself leaning in one direction.  But at the end of the day, and after much study and writing on the topic of voting, there is a greater principle at play than simply who I will vote for.  While you and I may vote for a candidate, there is a greater Power who holds the final sway in who will win.  Yes, God ultimately will determine who will win, since His Word is clear in passage after passage, and story and story, that God: 

“… controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.” Daniel 2:21 

Interestingly enough, Jesus affirmed this same principle moments before His crucifixion when He declared to Pilate, the appointed Roman ruler, that: 

“You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above.” John 19:11 

Notice that Jesus said that Pilate’s power, his position, was not given to him by Rome, but rather from above.  So likewise, while you may think that your vote is effectively electing the next Senator of Tennessee, there is a greater One who holds sway over the outcome.  While you and I may not fully understand this concept, it is true nonetheless.   

So you may ask, then what’s the use in voting if God’s going to decide?  I believe there are several reasons we should vote, which I intend to answer before the November election via a separate article. But one reason is simply because we are called to be stewards of the resources God gives us.  So when you vote, it’s not about electing someone, but it’s about honoring God and trusting Him with the outcome.  Truthfully, if you fully understand and embrace this Truth, it will totally free and transform your mind, and you’ll no longer fret over the outcome of an election.  

So vote your conscience.  Vote for the guy you feel led to.  But respect the other guy who will vote for your guy’s opponent.  And don’t sweat the outcome.  There’s Someone who can see the heart of both men, He knows the end from the beginning, and every day in between, and He knows the right guy to elevate at this time.  Trust Him, even when you may not understand, or agree, with Him.