Democracy is a wonderful thing. However, election campaigns themselves can be hurtful and divisive – and it’s not just the feuding politicians that bear the scars.
It’s easy to join the fray in the same spirit as so many of the politicians and media. As a result we can end up feeling alienated from people we disagree with – including our Christian sisters and brothers. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
As God’s church we are not called to agree on every issue. However, we are called to disagree well. We need to watch our hearts and our tongues as we engage in dialogue with people who see the world so very differently from ourselves.
To show there is indeed ‘nothing new under the sun’, the following is a quote from John Wesley’s journal in 1674:
‘I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them,
- To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
- To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
- To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.’
(John Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley)
It’s tempting to divide the world and even our fellow believers into ‘us’ and ‘them’, but Paul keeps reminding the churches that there is no such distinction in Christ.
Do join us in praying for our country at this time; ask that passionate disagreement about the future of the UK won’t turn to bitter personal division. And pray for the church, that we can model this good disagreement, as well as speaking up for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world.
An election prayer for your church
Thank you that we live in a country where we can freely and safely vote,
Thank you that we can speak to those in power without fear.
Thank you that no matter what happens during this election you can work all things for your good and glory.
Protect our hearts, friends, families, communities and churches as we disagree.
Protect our country as we undergo changes in our politics.
Protect our leaders and politicians as they lead us.
Give our leaders wisdom and vision to govern well, overcoming poverty and injustice.
Give us the energy to play our part in society.
Give us vision of how we can continue to bring your Kingdom here.
Tearfund has prepared a special 2017 election page. It’s full of resources to get you thinking, praying and speaking out – I do hope you will take a moment to look. And do make your voice heard by voting on 8 June.