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Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

December 2019 | by Mike Judge

Vote for the least-worst candidate, and pray

Depending on your point of view, the last few years have either seen parliamentary democracy at its best, or its worst. Whatever view you take on that, we are nevertheless privileged to live in a democracy. Let’s not give in to the cynicism and apathy which blights so much of the current political scene. After all, on Thursday 12 December we have the opportunity to vote!

It is highly unlikely that you will have a candidate standing in your constituency that reflects your opinions on everything you care about. Maybe some of you, by God’s grace, have a clear evangelical you can support. But that would be rare. For most of us, we will be voting for the least-worst option. There is honour in that. And, given our electoral system, I also don’t see why Christians can’t vote tactically with a clear conscience.

But one thing is binding upon every believer. We must pray. We are commanded to pray for all those who govern over us. Pray that we would have the freedom to live as God has instructed us. Pray also that those who govern over us will do so justly and wisely. Whether they know it or not, they are God’s servants to do us good. So pray for them.

Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

The video footage of a wheelchair-using Christian man being bundled away by police for praying outside an abortion clinic is heartbreaking. An exclusion order, which bans any opposition to abortion within a designated area outside an abortion clinic, is an outrageous infringement on free speech. Thankfully, prosecutors have since decided to drop the charges against this man.

However, an exclusion order – unjust though it may be – is a clear order of the court carrying the force of law. And laws need to be enforced. There are legitimate ways of seeking to overturn unjust laws, but the question of when Christians may legitimately engage in civil disobedience is a thorny one. It was discussed extensively and helpfully in April’s edition of ET (‘Obeying God rather than men’). In this, as in all things, we need to ‘be wise as serpents and harmless as doves’.