How to cut through the noise when it’s time to vote
Timothy Weerasekera // July 8, 2020, 6:58 pm
Feeling overwhelmed and maybe disturbed by what you’ve seen so far? Welcome to the club. You’re not alone in feeling frustrated at the chaos.
I’m a third-time voter, and I’ve never seen the politics of our nation so divided, toxic and, frankly, discouraging.
Our nation is at a pivotal crossroads and the enemy is busy sowing enmity between us – dividing our families, friendships and even spiritual relationships.
How then do we navigate the muck of tensions, emotions and facts? Here’s a framework that I think could really help us to make the choice thoughtfully.
SOUL: CONNECT WITH GOD
When worry over our future gets to us, voting can seem like a fearful process and our souls can feel burdened.
Here’s some advice: Settle down and visualise the Lord on His throne presiding over our nation. Remember our King is sovereign.
Let his peace fill you, so that when you engage with culture, you will be a releaser of His peace in choppy waters. Nobody brings peace to a situation from a place of internal chaos.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV)
Ultimately, Singapore’s past and future are in the hands of God. And God’s purposes are always redemptive because redemption is in His nature. As you centre yourself, remember that the Lord is in control.
Pray for His protection over the electoral proceedings and the process of selecting our nation’s leaders. Let His will be done.
HEART: EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES
It may also be worth asking if we’re voting from our own convictions or those we’ve bought into from the people around us, whether parents, grandparents or friends.
Does fear factor into your choice? Are you intimidated by your friends’ opinions? If so, perhaps now is the time for you to stand for your own convictions, just as we saw how Daniel refused to capitulate to popular opinion or practice when he was taken to Babylon (Daniel 1).
Is your vote attached to an emotion? If it is, does it come from a “bad place” like unrighteous anger and indignation towards certain individuals, or a “good place” like a desire for justice, fairness and continued progress for the country?
God’s purposes are always redemptive because redemption is in His nature.
Sometimes the lines can be blur, but if we’re willing to calmly examine ourselves, we can usually discern the condition of our own hearts – especially with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of which way you vote, “seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Peer pressure will probably factor into your decision some way or another, but we have to make up our own minds over this issue and not have our minds made up for us. It’s okay to vote differently from your friends. Your opinion is valid too!
Remember that you also have the right to change your mind if you find new information compelling enough to cause you to change your position.
Changing your views doesn’t make you fickle. It means you’re responsive and adaptable. In like fashion, having a different opinion from the people around you doesn’t make you disloyal. It makes you independent and considered.
MIND: USE YOUR DISCERNMENT
Amid complicated and often technocratic debates, the struggle to be on top of all the latest developments is real. But rest assured that you don’t have to know it all.
Be comfortable in not knowing, but do take your time to learn. There are always two sides to the story – this is politics after all. Look to understand each issue in a holistic way instead of just settling for easy answers from one side of the aisle.
This is a useful article on various factors worth considering as you think about your vote, but I have a few more suggestions.
Assess candidates’ motives
Be wary of the trap of technocracy. Sometimes, politicians can use big words and lofty ideals to impress their listeners. This will inadvertently leave some of us feeling ill-equipped to make an educated choice.
It’s okay if you don’t understand everything you hear about macroeconomic theory or any other number of hotly debated items. Listen to the heart behind the arguments to discern their motivations.
How much have they served the people? Are they using politics to advance their own ideological agendas?
How are they trying to get your vote? Do they signal that they’re woke, or do they appeal to unhappiness and anger?
When assessing candidates, also consider their maturity, life experience, worldview, familiarity with their electorate’s struggles and leadership competency.
Pick a strategy for your vote
Ultimately when you vote, you’re voting for both your local representatives and towards the composition of your national legislative. What makes it slightly tricky is that you only have one vote to make both decisions.
At the local level, your vote counts towards choosing the candidates who you are confident will represent your views in Parliament. They will also have to be capable of leading the management of your neighbourhood. At the national level, your vote counts towards the composition of Parliament.
Ideally both objectives will converge for you, having both excellent constituency leaders as well as your preferred power distribution ratio in Parliament. But if they don’t, you’ll have to pick one.
Remember, you’ve got this. You can make a decision.
As you vote for those you believe are the best choice, use your spiritual discernment. Consider asking God to help you see through the fog clearly.
Surely He is not ambivalent over the election of our leaders, and yet many of us leave him out of our decision-making process. Let’s remember to seek the Lord’s will in this.
Elections aren’t to be taken lightly, but we shouldn’t be overwhelmed by them either. Let’s walk in step with the Lord and see where he leads.
If you want someone to discuss ideas with, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be delighted to talk it through with you as well.
THINK + TALK
- What kind of Singapore do you want to see?
- Are you voting based on your own convictions or the opinions of others?
- Have you spent time to seek the Lord’s will?