Dear Friends -
For weeks they’ve been saying, “The mid-terms are just around the corner.” Well, now they are. I want to encourage you to vote.
It may interest you that on Oct. 6, 1774 John Wesley recorded in his journal. “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side. ”
I’m interested that in the first years of the Methodist movement, the father of Methodism thought it appropriate to urge Methodists to vote. He didn’t want them to waste their opportunity, or ignore their responsibility to exercise their vote. I want to do the same thing.
Often people say, rather hopelessly, “What difference does it make if I vote?” sort of, my one vote doesn’t make any difference. Or some will say, “Nothing changes no matter who you vote for,” feeling that candidates are all self-serving and dishonest. Yet, if we do nothing, it is certain nothing will change. Edward E. Hale wisely said, “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
Notice too the content of Wesley’s advice. He did not tell Methodists who to vote for. Instead, they were to vote “without fee (don’t take a bribe) ... for the person they judged most worthy.” So should we. Check the candidates’ websites for information.
Second, Wesley advised “speak no evil of the person they voted against.” We’ve all heard the slurs from “the deplorables” to “crooked...” Romans 14:13 reads, “... let us stop passing judgment on one another.” Isn’t that what unkind rhetoric is? I don’t mean that all ideas are of equal value or truth, or that you should abandon your convictions. I only mean that you should express them with compassion.
Third, Wesley said, “Take care (your) spirits (are) not sharpened against those that vote on the other side.” We can feel justified in our anger against a person who votes for a candidate who we strongly oppose. But Wesley points out that we do a great deal of damage to our own souls by nursing anger toward others. Instead let us follow Paul’s command: “Let the peace of Christ be the rule of your heart.” (Col. 3:15)
Elections are always about choices. Differences can turn to arguments if we let them. But let us “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)...” (Eph 5:8,9)
~ Pastor Byron
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