Electoral divisions: How to survive GE2020 without letting it tear us apart
Lee Song Yang // June 27, 2020, 10:10 pm
This election is significant for me because I turn 21 this year and can better understand what’s happening in Singapore and around the world.
As citizens, voting is a privilege entrusted to us to elect the people we believe will be best positioned to lead our nation forward. However, politics also has the power to divide, and this can be dangerous for the Church.
A failure to exercise patience and self-control can lead to divisions.
I recall a cell group gathering where one of my friends declared that he supported a particular politician and his policies. I quickly became agitated and was overcome with emotion.
There were a good few passionate minutes of debate, before some of our cell members had to redirect the focus away from politics. While our discussion did not escalate and did not end up affecting our friendship, I reflected upon it and realised that I was quick to judge and slow to listen.
LOVING MY NEIGHBOUR
It is hard to swallow when someone disagrees with your opinions, especially if it is someone you trust and are close to.
However, having the right posture helps us to avoid passing judgment and enables us to love our neighbours.
Patience and self-control are fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that can give our Father glory and point others to Him.
However, a failure to exercise patience and self-control can lead to divisions that can affect the dynamics within our cell groups, congregations or any other social circles we are in.
It is not easy for someone like me to contain my emotions, but I recognise that it is very necessary because doing so shows respect, honour and love to others.
LOVING THE LORD
At the same time, I believe it is also important to search our own hearts when taking a stand and casting our vote.
I am reminded of my early experiences of voting during my church’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). At times, I found myself voting for reasons such as to stand out. I was too caught up with the privilege of being able to vote that I failed to properly honour God through my vote.
Looking back, I recognise that my heart was in the wrong place.
It is easy for our hearts to wander and be lured by sinful desires and selfish agendas. It is also easy to let emotions and peer influence lead our hearts astray and cause us to make premature decisions without careful consideration.
But our hearts ought to be in line with what God has called us to do, and to elect people who will do as the Lord pleases, such as pursuing social justice (Isaiah 58).
While the Bible does not explicitly speak about how we should vote, it does inform us about what we should be looking out for in our leaders.
As Christians, I believe we should be voting for people who will walk and act righteously, while dedicating themselves to serve the needs of the nation. This is why examining a candidate’s heart and attitude towards service is imperative.
We need to be wholehearted in loving our Father and seeking the Lord for godly wisdom, so that we can give glory to Him with our position and our vote.
It takes a lot of humility to admit that we don’t know a lot.
Finally, I want to address those of us who might fear that we don’t know as much as others to make an informed decision to vote. It’s okay if you don’t know everything! The first bold step is recognising our own lack of knowledge.
But don’t just stop there. Talk to your friends, family or people who are older and more informed, or who can give you a good perspective of things.
It takes a lot of humility to admit that we don’t know a lot and to listen to others. Yet doing so trains us in teachability. We become more perceptive about politics and confident in our choices.
Keep reading and listening!
For those of us who are voting in the upcoming election, I pray that we will inquire of the Lord to guide us in how to vote. Let us not act prematurely and arrogantly, but humble ourselves. Let us be good listeners who are open to the opinions of others around us – Christian and non-Christian alike.
My hope for this election – and all future ones – is for us to find common ground and agree to disagree.
We will always have differing ideologies. But it is how we deal with them that matters. Let’s guard our hearts and minds, and ground ourselves in godly principles and truths.
But as much as we can practise certain postures to prevent our differences from dividing us, we also need to remember God’s hand over everything.
Let’s intercede to keep the Church united, so that our identity as redeemed children and our need for Him transcend our differences and bind us closer together.
THINK + TALK
- What are you looking out for in our leaders?
- In what ways can you become a better listener?
- When engaging with someone who has an opposing view, how can you disagree in love?
- What are some things you can pray for with regard to GE2020?