The ideal political choice
Categories: Shuzia Magazine,
Albert Einstein, the renowned physicist, said, “It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.” True, everyone has the power to determine, through elections, who should lead a community or a nation. The thrust of the electoral process is to choose representatives of peoples’ ideals and values. Sometimes we ask, are people’s choices God’s preferences? What considerations should the electorates make before choosing a leader for public office? There must be a set of traits to consider, as Christians, before electing people into public office. Thank God, we have the Bible to guide us to the desired values and principles.
Here are some of the key considerations a believer should make:
From the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, man inherited a sinful nature, and by default, is born with a wicked heart. God describes an unregenerate heart as extremely wicked and deceitful. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and extremely sick (wicked) who can understand it” (Jeremiah 17:9 KJV). This Scripture spares no political candidate who is not born again. According to God’s redemptive plan, everyone must be born again to be stripped of their sinful nature.
Everyone – that includes our politicians – must be stripped of their heart of stone and receive a heart of flesh to govern people with a godly heart. Accepting Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Saviour is the remedy. It sounds discriminatory or far-fetched, but this is foundational. Nothing good comes from the flesh!
The Bible tells us that righteousness exalts a nation (Proverbs 14:34). It is folly to think that someone not born again will lead a nation righteously. Many good people who are not born again, when elected into office have become dictators; power corrupts absolutely. Whether it is a community or national ticket, our first consideration is whether our candidate has wholeheartedly given themselves to Christ.
It is one thing to be born again, and it is another thing to walk as one born again. Every believer passes through stages of spiritual growth, and no one becomes spiritually mature and fit for public office overnight. In church governance, the Word of God instructs that a novice shouldn’t be ordained in office because they easily fall to temptations. Likewise, when choosing a political figure, we should consider their walk with God.
What do their close neighbors and family members testify of them? How have they led before? How do they spend money? And so on.
It is the fear of God that defines a person's integrity. And, to choose a genuine political candidate for public office, we need to ascertain their conduct in the public forum. But how? Isn't this judging people? Yes! If God ordains governments and has gifted us with the free will to exercise our choices, we should discern and see things through His lens. We can't vote for someone for public office, whom we know abuses their family, is corrupt, swindles public resources for selfish gain, practices homosexuality, and endorses abortion. God commands “Do not be wise in your own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7 NKJV).
A person of integrity fears God and departs from evil. They will not lie to the electorate because they are accountable to God first. It is the trademark of many politicians to lie unashamedly to the faces of their electorate. For instance, they may promise to construct bridges and roads in every election campaign without any fulfillment. And if they do projects as promised, they may inflate figures, diverting funds into their pockets. Choosing someone who fears God – backed by their track record – will help to develop communities and nations.
Most politicians, especially in Africa, are only visible during the election campaigns. Once voted into office, they are oblivious. Instead of serving their communities and nations, many become unapproachable bosses who dictate the pace, govern, and implement policies without consultations. When choosing a political candidate, we should choose someone with a servant mentality – a candidate who wholeheartedly works with the people, for the people, and serves as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24).
No other example of servant leadership outweighs what Jesus Christ demonstrated during His earthly ministry. Washing the disciples' feet was an exception to the norm. Most leaders enjoy red carpets, public acknowledgment, and praise. Jesus, however, set an indelible mark of humility, compassion, and servanthood that every public leader can borrow a leaf from.
Hardworking and diligent
“Hard work will give you power; being lazy will make you a slave” (Proverbs 12:24). Serving a community or a nation is not a stroll in the park. It calls for hardworking people who understand that civilians’ hopes are squarely on their shoulders.
No one would want to present their grievances and issues to leaders who sleep on duty. A public office is a high-pressure job, and it requires someone who is naturally hardworking.
The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, charged busybodies who survived on other people's labor to work for their own food. He commanded that for success, everyone must work hard (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). When choosing people for public office, we must examine their work ethic and attitude towards work. Incompetent and lazy people are a sure recipe for disaster.
In addition to being hardworking, a political candidate must be diligent; someone self-motivated, an excellent planner, and an executor of work. We read in the Bible that Daniel had an excellent spirit that distinguished him from other governors. And, Joseph's foresight and exceptional wisdom saved many people from famine.
There are many considerations before choosing a political candidate, but what we’ve discussed is vital for sustainable growth and development. As Christians, “we should be involved in the affairs of the government, and if we don’t, we are doomed to live under the rule of fools” (Plato).
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