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Elections this week

culture faith integrity modelling behaviour values Jul 01, 2024

The general election is this week here in the UK and as I know many of us are heading to the polls whether here in UK or elsewhere around the world this year, I thought I would share a few of the values that are shaping my thinking.

Note: I am NOT going to tell you who to vote for. That's your work to do.

As you hopefully know, I am a Jesus follower. Christian faith doesn’t mean being all-powerful and trying to impose my faith on anyone else- no matter what some have misused it to try to do. And as ever, I'm not going to tell you what to believe, because ultimately that’s your homework to do. I believe to my bones that Jesus is God and that following him is the best, most exciting, most purposeful adventure your life could be lived by. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be a Jesus follower because I am not so masochistic as to follow someone who was just a nice guy and toothless tiger. The Jesus I follow is wild, radical, dangerous to corrupt power structures, and loves the stink out of us.


The Jesus I follow is wild, radical, dangerous to corrupt power structures, and loves the stink out of us.


I hope that I love you well enough that you see the reflection of Jesus in me and are drawn to have what I have but again, YOU need to do your own homework and work out what you believe about Jesus. That’s a topic for another day so I’ll move on. Today, it’s the back drop for what I want to say.

Our elections here are on Thursday so I thought I’d share some of my criteria that - as a Jesus follower- I believe are important:


‘Blessed are the peacemakers' (Mt 5:9a NIV)

I am not going to vote for anyone whose schtick is to stoke tensions and get people angry and wound up. That doesn’t get a country anywhere good. ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’ as Jesus put it. Growing up in N. Ireland during the Troubles, I lived through the ramifications of this, so you'll excuse me if I have no time for those who love to stir up 'us-them' mentality. I've seen how easy it is to get into rival camps, and it HURTS people. It kills, and whilst some like to portray Jesus' words as being soft and fluffy here, I challenge you to try it. When the opposing group are so awful to you that to vote for them is unthinkable, it takes someone really radical to try to find ways forward- especially when they've hurt you. I don't claim to be good at this, but I know that division and separation is not a good answer, so I want to vote for someone who will look for places that they can work WITH others, not merely sling mud and point fingers.


‘People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ (1 Sam 16:7c NLT)

In a world obsessed with personality, power and fame, it’s really easy to be seduced by the look and presentation of someone who, when you scratch the surface, is deeply problematic. Character matters to God and as such, if I claim to follow God, then it should matter to me too. I need to look below the soundbites and words intended to appeal to my fears or prejudices. I need to look beyond style to substance.

God is not affiliated with any earthly political party (no matter what any of them claim) so I will use my discernment to look beyond the externals, the pithy slogans and the slick marketing, to the best of my ability. 


'He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.' (Deut. 10:18 NIV)

Part of the reason we have so many poor among us is because the current structures of society have engorged the already wealthy without expecting them to contribute their fair share. Like the wealthy man building bigger barns to hoard more (see Luke 12:16-21) and failing to see that his abundance was never supposed to be just for himself but that he was ‘blessed to be a blessing’ (see Gen. 12:2).

I’m not even going to try to squish discussion of nations' culpability in the messes now resulting in mass fleeing from what’s left of their countries, but I WILL say that God is really hot on caring for the less fortunate in society, and he’s also really hot on the fact that when a lot is given TO us,  a lot of good is expected THROUGH us (see Luke 12:48).


God is really hot on caring for the less fortunate in society, and he’s also really hot on the fact that when a lot is given TO us, a lot of good is expected THROUGH us (see Luke 12:48).


For those of us who are Christians, that’s a responsibility on us to use what we know about the person, character and concerns of God to use that knowledge wisely because our first allegiance is to God, and then we should see politics through the lens of his word, rather than seeing God through the lens of our politics.

So as I pray over who to cast my vote for, these are just a snapshot of the ways I am endeavouring to honour God and my fellow country folk as I head to the polls on Thursday.

There are many more criteria we could use, but as a Christian, I wanted to share just a few of mine and where they’re found in the Bible. At no point am I saying I have this all sussed or manage all this perfectly. I'm a work in progress, and this is merely where I'm up to today. 

Whether you share my faith or not, I hope this is useful to you. If you are wrestling with your own criteria, I’m happy to help you thrash it out because I know this stuff can get really messy- I grew up in N. Ireland in the Troubles for goodness' sake, OF COURSE I know how messy it can get!