20 November 2011

Making Your Votes Count

by Dr Mark Keown

What a difficult choice we face as we go to the polls later this week. There are really pressing issues facing New Zealand and the world – the global economic problem, the disparity between rich and poor, ongoing social issues, the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake, and more. What a job it is to be a politician in these times!

So, the first thought is pay homage to all those who are standing in the election; good on you, it is both an honourable and unenviable vocation. Here are some further thoughts on the election, 2011.

First, we should all take the time to vote. It is a sacred privilege and honour to be able to have a say in who leads our nation. We are fortunate in New Zealand too, we get three votes this time – an electorate vote, a party vote and a vote for the referendum. Let’s make the most of them. God is the “God of Nations” and his people, as heirs of the kingdom and world (Rom 8:17), should take the opportunity to vote for those they believe will give leadership to this nation on his behalf (Rom 13:1–5).

Secondly, we should be praying a lot this week. Paul urges us specifically to pray for politicians (1 Tim 2:1–2). Prayer shapes history as God responds to the prayers of the sincere. We should each take a little bit of extra time to pray for God’s lead in the election, for a result that will bring Shalom to this nation.

Thirdly, we should be really thinking as we go to the polls. There are so many things for a Christian to think about as they vote this time, so many conflicting challenges. We have the questions like: economic management; the problem of reducing national debt; creating jobs to reduce unemployment; social justice and alleviating the growing income disparity and poverty issues, particularly child-poverty; the issues of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emissions; the complexities of MMP with a vote for one party or the other, actually serving to support this or that major party; the question of voting for a leader, a person or a party; getting past the party and media spin to the real people and policies; how much we should be influenced by perceptions of party leaders; which system we think is best for the nation moving ahead... It makes one exhausted just writing these questions let alone trying to work them through!

Still, we Christians should not be afraid of thinking, we need to think deeply, and vote by conscience. As we pray, think, enter the booth and vote, we can then trust that God will be shaping the outcome toward what is best for us and his world.

So we urge you to seriously engage with the election this weekend. Feel free to post comments here on what you think the real issues are and how that affects the way you are voting.

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